Joan Baldwin Leach
Joan Baldwin was born in Louisville, Kentucky on September 15, 1929, the only child of Elmer Lee (“Red”) and Margaret Tucker Baldwin. She died September 23, 2016, age 87.
When she was five years old, the little family of three moved to the country where Red and Margaret ran a general store, so Joan was “the merchant’s daughter.” It was there in a revival at the Roley Christian Church she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord at age 10, and, along with 15 others, was baptized into Christ in Mill Creek. At a young age her mother had her singing in “the choir” (just a group of people who would go sit in designated rows of seats and who would help “lead out” in the congregational singing), take part in Christmas programs, and sing solos. She attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse at Roley.
Pre-teen years found her riding with her daddy in his huckster truck (taking store merchandise to people farther back in the Kentucky hills), swimming in the creek, learning to play volleyball, enjoying her many school friends, going to “the picture show” with her parents in a nearby “town” (Campbellsville, Ky.), learning to cook on a wood-burning kitchen stove, and helping her parents in the store.
High school days were filled with roller-skating, movies, volleyball (she was the only girl on the team for awhile), Sunday afternoon outings with “the gang,” and church activities.
She graduated from high school in 1947, and enrolled in Atlanta Christian College (Atlanta, Ga.) in January 1948. Those were the years of serious Bible study and music training, new friendships, cheer- leading, first train and airplane travel, and Christian service. She led music and sang solos not only in Georgia but also during revivals and youth crusades in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, and even up the east coast to Maryland. She graduated in May 1951, and worked as a song evangelist during the following summer.
After corresponding for 8 months—meeting for the first time in July, and working together in a revival in September—she and Donn Allon Leach were married in Perryville, Ky. on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1951. Theirs has been a faithful and loving marriage for almost 65 years. They served together first in the Greens Fork Christian Church in Indiana, where their son Dann Edward was born. This was also the beginning of their passion for collecting antiques. Donn and Joan then went to serve at the First Christian Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where their second son John Martin was born. They moved to Lincoln, Illinois in 1959 where they both taught in Lincoln Christian College, and built a home on campus. Joan also taught a large class of young adults (“The Merri-Mates”) at Lincoln Christian Church for 13 years. She received a Master of Arts degree from Lincoln Christian Seminary in 1969. In 1972, they moved to Manhattan, Ks. where they both taught at Manhattan Christian College and where she helped to begin the college’s first “Woman’s World.” As a member of University Christian Church, Joan taught young adults of “The Christian Builders Class” for 16 years. Donn and Joan next spent almost 7 years in England, teaching at Springdale College and working with Churches of Christ there, then worked 4 years in Virginia—2 years with a new church in the Richmond area, and 2 years with a long-established church in Williamsburg. Both in England and in Virginia, Joan organized, planned, and decorated for women’s groups. Her philosophy for women’s programs was that every ladies’ meeting should be an OCCASION, not merely an occurrence. In 1999 they returned to Manhattan to be nearer their family and to once more become part of University Christian Church and Manhattan Christian College. Joan again helped to organize women’s programs for years. A Christmas Open House was a tradition of their home for many years.
Joan was the author of How To Vitalize the Young Adult Class and co-author of First Steps, and Caring for Babies. She also wrote numerous devotional and educational articles published by Standard Publishing Company.
For 6 years, Joan led the Senior Adults Ministry of University Christian Church, resigning at the end of 2010. She had also taught a small women’s Sunday School class for awhile.
Joan’s hobbies were genealogy, heritage scrap-booking, card-making, reading, and decorating for special church events. She was a member of Riley County Genealogical Society and Riley County Historical Society. She and her husband refurbished the old stone Kimball house on Mary Kendal Court and filled it with their collection of antiques. They lived there from 1974 until they went to England in 1989.
She leaves her husband Donn of the home; son Dann Edward Leach and his wife Cindy (Barnes) of Valley Center, Ks.; son John Martin Leach and his wife Kristi (Rust) of Longmont, Co.; five grandchildren: Michael David Leach, Ryan Edward Leach, Daniel Joseph Leach, Aaron Tucker Leach and Hayley Anne Leach; a sister-in-law, Mrs. Nancy Hanson of Olivet, Michigan; and numerous “Kentucky cousins.”
The Family will receive friends during a visitation from 6:00 until 7:30 p.m. Monday, September 26, 2016, at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home.
Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at the University Christian Church, 2803 Claflin Road in Manhattan. Interment will follow in the Sunrise Cemetery.
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A memorial has been established for the Christian Holyland Foundation. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502.