Joan Marguerite Larson Lebold, 90, passed away peacefully in her home at Westminster Thurber Community, on Saturday, May 16, 2020 in Columbus, Ohio, surrounded by her four children. In her 90 years of living and loving, Joan touched everyone around her with her kindness, compassion and love of family and friends, setting a firm example of acceptance, openness and love for all.
Joan was born on July 9, 1929 in Dunkirk, New York to Fred Alexander and Josie Lucille (Willis) Larson. As a child and teenager growing up in Fredonia, New York, she was an accomplished equestrian and pianist, which gave her a lifelong love of horses and music. She embraced the changing seasons, calling herself a “snow” person, having grown up on the shores of her beloved Lake Erie. She attended college at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and graduated from Fredonia State Teacher’s College in her hometown. In the summer of 1950, it was love at first sight when a young man from Ohio walked into the firelight circle at Dunkirk Conference Grounds; she married Keene Randall Lebold on June 16, 1951, and they were soulmates and best friends throughout their marriage.
Joan and Keene made their first home in Clarington Ohio, where Joan was an elementary school teacher before becoming a full-time mother to Sam, Carol and Susan. The family moved to Merom, Indiana, during which time “Danny” was born, and then to Ashtabula Ohio, where Thania Leonora Alberty Garcia from Honduras (American Field Service) joined the family. A final move brought them to Columbus Ohio, where they enjoyed making friends on Webster Park Avenue in Clintonville, the Polo Club in Gahanna, and eventually the Ohio Living Westminster Thurber Community.
Throughout their lives, Joan and Keene actively sought opportunities to engage with people representing different backgrounds, cultures, religious perspectives, worldviews and ideologies. In each situation their care, curiosity, openness, inclusive spirit and acceptance of others resulted in lifelong friendships wherever they went. Joan was a consummate organizer, and as the children grew and left home, she put these skills to use in a variety of jobs including the League of Women Voters, lobbying the State Legislature for fair housing and voter registration, and as a paralegal with Chester, Saxbe, Hoffman & Willcox. She remained active and involved with her family, friends, church and community well beyond her 90th birthday.
Joan’s selflessness, compassion and care for others was legendary among her family and friends. She was also well known and appreciated (most of the time) for being pragmatic and direct. From purchasing newspapers from homeless persons on the street (whose names she knew) to the volunteer work at her church helping distribute support to the needy, to her recruitment of donors for worthy causes, she exemplified a life of living her values to the fullest. Over the course of her life, she provided maternal guidance, comfort and support to children and families all over the world. Joan thoroughly enjoyed her role of mother, grandmother and great grandmother not only to those in her own family, but also as mother and “third grandmother” to many in her wider circle. Trained as a teacher, she loved spending time with the children in her life and they in turn adored her.
Joan was preceded in death by her beloved Keene, her parents, her brother Bill (William Larson), her son-in-law Jay Stoerker, and two brothers who died before she was born (Frederick Jr and Robert Neal). She is survived by her four children, son Sam (Jean), daughters Carol (David Knowles) and Susan (Jay Stoerker), and son Daniel (Simona Farcas); 7 grandchildren, Elizabeth (Ovidiu Corneanu) Lebold, Matthew (Sarah Schmidt) Lebold, Joshua (Liz Bennett) Lebold, Thea and Galen Knowles, Conrad Stoerker, and Gabriel Lebold; 5 great grandchildren (Oliver, Levi, Claudius, Augustus and Hadrian) and numerous nieces and nephews. She is sorely missed by all of them.
A memorial celebration of Joan’s life will be held on a future date. Memories may be shared on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joan.lebold. Contributions in Joan’s memory can be made to either the “Good Samaritan Fund” or “B.R.E.A.D.” through First Congregational Church (444 East Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215), the Ohio Living Foundation (1001 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH 43229), or a service organization of your choice. Arrangements by Shaw Davis Funeral Homes (shaw-davis.com).
https://www.first-church.org/Socialconcerns.aspx (Good Samaritan Fund)
https://www.breadcolumbus.com/ (Building Responsibility Equality And Dignity)
https://www.ohioliving.org/foundation/your-options/how-can-i-help (Life Care Commitment)