Joan Pennebaker Obituary

SEPTEMBER 22, 1933 – APRIL 13, 2023


Joan Smith Pennebaker, beloved mother, Granjo, and Aunt Jo, died peacefully on April 13, 2023 in Nacogdoches, Texas, surrounded by family. Born in Sunflower County, Mississippi on September 22, 1933, she was the eldest daughter of Floyd Lamar and Mary Dollar Smith. She lived most of her life in the charming Mississippi Delta farming community of Inverness. The Smith family valued working hard together on the farm and close family ties. Joan remained especially close to her two younger sisters, Lou and Nancy, all her life, and she always expressed great love, respect, and admiration for her parents and sisters. She often said that her mother was her best friend.

Joan graduated from Inverness High School in 1950 and then attended MDJC in Moorhead where she lived with her special grandmother “Mama Dollar,” from whom she learned many valuable life lessons. Joan then received her Bachelor’s Degree in education from the University of Southern Mississippi, managing to complete all her required college coursework in 3 years. In 1955 she married Joseph Douglas “J.D.” Pennebaker to whom she was married for 55 years.

Joan greatly enjoyed her years as a fifth-grade teacher at Alta Woods Elementary School in Jackson, and she spoke fondly of her students by name for years. Perhaps her most meaningful role, however, was as a faithful, resourceful, and devoted mother to her two children, Carolyn and Doug, teaching and encouraging them to live with discipline and diligence, especially in their educational and vocational pursuits, often to her own personal sacrifice.

A long-time member of the Inverness First Methodist Church, Joan attended the First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches, Texas after moving to be nearer to her daughter and son until her health prevented her regular attendance.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband, J.D. Pennebaker and her son-in-law, Reese Andrews. She is survived by her two sisters, Lou Ballard(Tom) of Westborough, MA, and Nancy Beasley(Charles) of Knoxville, TN; sister-in-law Nelia Perry of Picayune, MS; daughter Carolyn Andrews of Nacogdoches, TX, son Doug Pennebaker(Karrie) of San Antonio, TX, and grandchildren, Parker, Payton, and Annaleigh Andrews, Garrett, and Elliott Pennebaker, Bailey Landrum, Kyle Prine; nieces Teresa Rieffel and Tracey Perry; and nephews Fred, George, and Clyde Beasley, and Jeff, Greg, and Steve Ballard.

A family graveside service will be held on April 24 at 10:00 a.m. at Hickory Grove Cemetery in Inverness, Mississippi.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-14