Joanne (Jo) Spivey King passed away peacefully on July 11, 2020, at the age of 84. Joanne was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on September 1, 1935, to the late Russell Spivey, M.D. and Dorothy Ryker Spivey. She enjoyed a happy childhood showing American Saddlebred horses with her sister, Susanne, and sewing clothes for her dolls. Joanne attended Pike and Broad Ripple High Schools and Butler University, where she met the love of her life and husband of 62 years, James (Jim) Floyd King. She was proud to be a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority.
Joanne graduated from Butler with a bachelor’s degree in home economics and had a long and successful career with Purdue Extension. She began as an extension agent in Marion County, Indiana, then moved to Boone County, and subsequently spent many years as the County Extension Director in Hamilton County. Her areas of expertise were many and included teaching clothing construction and tailoring, food preparation and preservation, and health and human services. Joanne was instrumental in the expansion of the Hamilton County 4-H Fairgrounds and construction of the Exhibition Center. She loved every aspect of her career including overseeing the 4-H program and county fair, working with Extension Homemakers and area farmers, and engaging with children and teens to solve problems and build leadership skills. She was a passionate advocate for principles of diversity, equity and inclusion and led frequent training sessions in this area.
Joanne was committed to serving her community and its residents any way she could. As a member of the Hamilton County Park Board, she was instrumental in opening several new parks in the county. She was involved with the Hamilton County Progress Committee, and was one of the founders of the Hamilton County Leadership Academy. She was a Sagamore of the Wabash Award recipient.
Joanne was a positive role model for so many, always quick with a smile and kind word. She was beloved by her children, Jennifer and Jeff, who will never forget her contagious belief in the power of a positive attitude. She also modeled and instilled values of gratitude, grace and compassion.
As a family, Joanne, her husband Jim, and their children spent many happy summers boating and water skiing on the Ohio River and at Morse Lake, where Joanne and Jim lived for nearly 40 years. They also enjoyed spending winters in the Florida Keys, as well as Bradenton and Anna Maria Island, Florida, and visiting other states in their RV.
Joanne was preceded in death by her husband Jim (just two months prior). She is survived by her loving sister, Susanne (Sue) Spivey Cooper; son, J. Jeffrey King; daughter, Jennifer King Burk (Phil Burk); and four grandchildren, twins Nicholas James Burk and Brandon Paul Burk, and twins Abigail Judith Burk and Samantha Joanne Burk.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made to Purdue Extension Hamilton County, 2003 Pleasant Street, Noblesville, IN 46060-3697.
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Purdue Extension Hamilton County
2003 Pleasant Street, Noblesville IN 46060-3697