In Memory of




Obituary for Joanne K. Speece

On August 3, 2020 Joanne K. Speece passed away unexpectedly at home in Willoughby Hills, her residence of 52 years.

Born December 7, 1926 to Harold and Sara Eleanor Cope in Akron, Ohio her family moved to St. Clairsville, Ohio and then to Neffs, Ohio, where she graduated in 1944 from Bellaire High School. Her grades and personal initiative earned her a scholarship to Baldwin-Wallace College where she worked to cover additional costs. Her time at Baldwin-Wallace was cut short when her father was hurt in a mining accident and she returned home to help with the family.

Joanne had eight siblings. She was offered a first grade teaching position on a 2 year provisional teaching certificate at Neffs Elementary from 1946-1950. She continued her education during summers and met her husband, Robert (dec.2007), while they were attending West Liberty College in West Virginia. They married in October 1947 and Joanne continued to teach in Neffs.

Upon Robert's completion of his undergraduate degree via the GI Bill they moved to the Cleveland area where he attended law school and she secured a teaching position in Brecksville for a year until teaching for the Mayfield City school system the next year.

They started a family and secured a home in Eastlake where Joanne assisted at the Lakeshore Congregational Church running a kindergarten class and then opened a private kindergarten in her home from 1956 to 1958. The following year she taught a kindergarten class in Willowick at the former Dudley Field barracks location. From there she taught second grade at Thomas Jefferson Elementary and then first grade at George Washington Elementary from 1962 to 1970. In 1965 she returned to college to acquire her four-year degree at Lake Erie College. Joanne wound up her career from 1970 to 1984 at the former Garfield School in Willoughby Hills after moving her residence to Willoughby Hills in 1968.
Joanne had always had aspirations of becoming a teacher from childhood. She nurtured many and was loved by all. She had a work ethic, love and devotion, unsurpassed in her career as well as her family life.

She and her husband took their children on many fun filled cross country vacations over the years visiting all the national parks and family in Montana and California. Those memories are cherished by all her children to this very day. She continued to enjoy traveling in their motorhome after retiring.

She is survived by her four children, daughter, Ann Kay and husband Richard of Lexington, Ohio, son, Robert Jr. and wife Karen of Coxsackie, NY, son, Thomas and wife Yvonne of Sunbury, Ohio, and son, Raymond of Willoughby Hills, and many grand and great-grandchildren..

Joanne will be interred with graveside services alongside her husband in her ancestral cemetery in Colerain Twp., Belmont County, Ohio.