Joan Ellen (Perry) Culberson

Joan Ellen (Perry) Culberson passed away July 31, 2016, at 6:15 p.m. at the Absolute Assisted Living Care Home, in Mesa, AZ with, Gary, her husband of 55 years, at her side. Joan was born March 29, 1940, in Topeka, Kansas to Frank W. and Thelma A. (Raby) Perry. Joan and Gary were married September 4, 1960, in the Presbyterian Church in Wakarusa, KS.

Joan graduated from Washburn Rural High School, Topeka, KS and enrolled at Kansas State College. She completed her 5th semester in 1960, then moved with her husband to his job and navy service. Joan returned to Kansas State University for her 6th semester in January 1962. Daughter Gail was born in Bethesda Naval Hospital in September 1963. The family settled in Marshalltown, IA in July 1965. Daughter Rene was born in 1966.

Joan was on an active volunteer with the Marshalltown Child Study Group, PTA and City PTA. Joan was a 50-year member of the First United Methodist Church. She wore many hats over the years; Sunday School teacher, bell choir (25 yrs), vocal choir and Lay Leader. Joan served several years as the Marshalltown AFS coordinator and hosted Alexandra Magona, Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Elka DeWild-DeRudder, Wervik, Belgium for half of their terms.

Joan served 9 years on the Marshalltown Community School Board (1975-1984); as President the last 6. She served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the foundation that supports the High School Community Auditorium for 25 years. Following the school board, Joan became a Teacher’s Aide at Anson Elementary serving two First Grade Teachers until she retired June 1st, 2000.

Joan and Gary enjoyed bicycling and dancing. The couple started Snowbirding in Mesa, AZ in 2001, learned to play tennis there, and enjoyed tennis with several other area couples both in AZ and IA. Joan loved ice cream after dinner, enjoyed baking cookies and loved being known as ‘The Cookie Lady.’ They relocated to Arizona in the fall of 2015 as Joan was disabled by Alzheimers.

Joan was preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Thelma Perry and a brother-in-law, Donald Froelich.

She is survived by her husband, Gary, and daughters Gail (Steve) Novak, Mesa, AZ; Rene (Mike) Beck, Lakewood, CO; grandchildren Fallon and Keagan Beck and step grandchildren Will (Veronica) Novak, Phoenix, AZ; Meagan (Ryan) Pinney, Scottsdale, AZ and Lauren (Gabriel) Garcia, San Marcos, CA; an AFS daughter, Bahar Sen, Instanbul, Turkey (MHS 1983-84); sisters: Lois Froelich, Emporia, KS; Nancy (Gerald) Crow, Auburn, KS; and brother Wilson (Rita Shelley) Perry, Omaha, NE.

Memorial services are not yet planned. Memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church, 202 W. Main St., Marshalltown, IA 50158; Apache Wells Community Church, 2115 N. Gayridge Rd., Mesa, AZ 85215; the Alzheimers Association or your favorite charity.

Memorial services are being planned for Sat., Aug. 27 at 1:00 p.m., at First United Methodist Church. Memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church, 202 W. Main St., Marshalltown, IA 50158; Apache Wells Community Church, 2115 N. Gayridge Rd., Mesa, AZ 85215; the Alzheimers Association or your favorite charity.