Joan McNeal Awald

Joan McNeal Awald, of Kansas City, Mo., died November 27, 2021 at St. Lukes Hospice House.

Born April 9, 1953, in Chanute, she was the youngest of six daughters born to Harold and Lois McNeal.

It was love at first sight when Joan met John Awald in Chanute. They married soon after, on July 12, 1975, and moved to Brookings, S.D., in 1977. Life in a university town proved to be a perfect fit for both of them. Armed with a 3-year calendar, assorted storage containers and poster putty, Joan planned and organized life at home and in the community. Always an active volunteer, she worked at local elections, provided transportation to area medical facilities and helped at daughter Elizabeth’s school events.

Her love of maps led her to a degree in geography and a job in geographic information systems at RSII/Ameritech for several years. She later became a CPR/First Aid instructor with the Brookings County Chapter of the American Red Cross. Travel was one of her passions so she planned several trips to Jeep Jamboree events around the country, putting her map collection to good use. 

In 2005, the couple moved to Kansas City and has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since. A fun challenge of many of those years was organizing the Armour Hills Fourth of July parade. In Kansas City, she was employed by Cancer Action and by the American Public Works Assn. In retirement, she and John delivered Meals on Wheels. In 2020, she was given the Outstanding Service Award for her volunteer work at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church.

She took pride in her brief notoriety when she fended off an armed robber at a Brookside ATM by yelling obscenities and lying about her account balance, earning her the nickname “Bad Ass Moron” among her friends and family. 

Survivors include her beloved husband of 46 years; her daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Justin Billet, grandson Dane and granddaughter Kingsley, all of Merriam, Kan.; five sisters, Carolyn Smith of Houston, Texas, Emily Robinson of Harveyville, Kan., Susan Luellen of Chanute, and Hannah Welniak and Judi Highbaugh of Norman, Okla.; several nieces and nephews; her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Bill and Anne Awald of Buffalo, N.Y.; and her dear friends, Linda and Allen Whitaker of Brookings.

Services will be held Wednesday, December 15, 2021 at HJ’s Community Center, 6425 Wornall Rd., Kansas City, Mo., from 1:30-4 pm. 

The family suggests memorials to Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Cancer Action in Overland Park, Kan., or All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Kansas City, Mo. 

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