Joan L. Gingrich, 89, of Lititz, Pa., formerly of Landisville, Pa., died May 9, 2023. Born in Lancaster County, she was the daughter of Clarence R. and Martha Longenecker Nissley.
She graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School, Harrisonburg, Va., in 1951 and later attended Eastern Mennonite College.
She married James M. Gingrich in 1955. Two years later, they and their 9-week-old twin daughters began a four-year term of service with Eastern Mennonite Missions in Honduras. Returning to the United States, they settled in Landisville, where she devoted her time and energy to raising her growing family and volunteering with local church organizations.
In later years, she was employed by EMM as a receptionist, where she enjoyed meeting new people every day. An active member of Landisville Mennonite Church, she was a Sunday school teacher, a leader of the women’s sewing circle and served in outreach to young families. In retirement, she and Jim spent quite a few winters in Phoenix, volunteering with local service organizations.
Joan lived and shared her core values — compassion, generosity and service — with her family and all who knew her. She was caring and patient and had a beautiful, genuine smile for all. Her hands were rarely still. She delighted in hosting guests in her home and was a superb cook and baker. She was an excellent seamstress and outfitted her four young daughters. Later she used her skills to create beautifully knitted shawls and quilts.
Fun-loving and adventurous, she was always curious and interested in the people and places she visited. Classical and a cappella music touched her soul and in recent years became a vehicle of expression when spoken language was no longer possible. Throughout her long journey with Alzheimer’s, she maintained a gentle and loving spirit.
She is survived by her husband; four daughters, Trula Gingrich of Lititz, Twila Gingrich of Lititz, Jonelle Shenk (Elvin) of Lancaster and Alicia Gingrich (Kirsten Peachey) of Oak Park, Ill.; a grandson; and three siblings, John Nissley (Faith, deceased) of Lititz, Reba (Mervin Hess) of Lititz, and Nancy (Paul Hess) of Willow Street.
Contributions may be made to Mennonite Central Committee or Mennonite Disaster Service.