Joan Meaders

Obituary of Joan Meaders

Joan A. Jenkins-Meaders Obituary She was a twin daughter of Clarence D. and Irene Gibson Jenkins, who was the daughter of a Share Cropper. On January 11, 1933, she was born in Trenton, NJ, because the family followed their father as he traveled with the Public Work Administration, building various roads, bridges and water sewers from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. The family later moved to Tottenville, Staten Island, after her father obtained employment at the Nassua Smelting Refining Company. She was a Girl Scout and received several badges and pins of merit; marched in the Memorial Day and Flag Day parades. She attended St. Stephen's Church on Wednesday afternoon, sang with the youth choir. The choir traveled on holidays to sing to the wounded servicemen at the Old Halloran Hospital. Joan also took piano lessons in Tottenville. She later studied piano under Mrs. Craig of Bayonne, NJ, and voice under Ms. Inez Matthew, who performed in "Porgy and Bess" on Broadway. She lived on a mini farm in which her father raised chickens and turkeys. They had a victory garden of various vegetables, and several fruit trees. During the summer months when the vegetables and fruit were ready to be harvested, she helped her mother can them for the winter. Her mother taught her how to cook and do domestic work. Mrs. Jenkins-Meaders graduated from Tottenville High School receiving three P.S.A.L. pins, as well as the Sewing and Typing awards. In her later years she obtained her Associate in Applied Science and Bachelor of Science degrees from the College of Staten Island, majoring in Accounting and Economics. She attended the New York University-School of Fashion Design, receiving a certificate in floral designs. Joan and her sister-in-law Jenny Meaders started J & J Floral Design business in her basement. She received a certificate of Accomplishment from H & R Block Tax school and a 10-year service pin. She was employed for 10 years at Travelers Insurance Co.; and later was employed at various N.Y.C. agencies where she became Chief of Payroll at her last agency. After her retirement from the city, she worked for 10 years at H & R Block. In 1952 she became a member of St. Philips' Baptist Church, serving over 50 years, under the leadership of Rev. William A. Epps, Jr. There she taught Sunday School, prepared Sunday morning service bulletins, and was a member of the senior choir. In 1957 the church had a fundraising contest to eliminate the church's mortgage. With the help of family, friends and co-workers, she raised the most money and was crowned "Queen of the Church," receiving the title of "Ms. Mortgage". For the church's Tom Thumb wedding party, she sewed seven gowns for the wedding party. She assisted in the federal government's surplus food distribution program for the needy and was recording secretary for the Administrative Board of Surplus Food at the district monthly meetings. In 1954 she joined the Navy Reserves, taking her basic training at Bainbridge, Md.; marched in the yearly parades down Victory Blvd. Staten Island, and received an honorable discharge in 1958. Joan became a member of the Congress of Racial Equality in 1960 and served as their recording secretary. She participated in demonstrations on Staten Island and Washington, D.C. She was a charter member, life member and benefactor to the National Council of Negro Women and served as Financial Secretary and Parliamentarian to this organization. Joan was also a life member of the N.A.A.C.P. and C.W.A. Local 1180. On June 10, 1975, she purchased her first home in Mariner's Harbor, Staten Island. She served as a health care assistant to four senior citizens at the Clove Lake Nursing Home and Silver Lake Nursing Home. In April, 1983, she married Solomon A. Meaders at St. Phillip Baptist Church. He served 31 years on the NYC Police force. They were married 29 years before his demise in 2012. In 1986, she began researching her family history, wrote and published the first book known as Beatty – Gibson Family Roots and Odyssey. In 1988 she organized and chaired the Beatty-Gibson Family reunion at the Brandywine Resort in Pennsylvania. In 1993 Joan served as a volunteer cashier at the Sea View Nursing Home's commissary. Joan interviewed the church organist, Mr. Ulysses Allen Providence and wrote and published "Our Father of Music", a partial biography of his life's journey. She chaired St. Phillips Baptist church By-Law-Committee, assisted in reviewing and rewriting the church By-Laws. In 2003, she wrote a partial biography of their 70 years of life for her twin sister and two brothers. Joan joined the CYO and Todt Hill Friendship Clubs where she line danced and tap danced in the Golden Girl Group. They performed at several nursing homes each year and the Beatrice Victor Senior Olympic program. She sang with the Hellavue choir/Viva Voice choir adjunct to S.I. Philharmonic Orchestra and The Roaring Choirs at the NY Public Library. Each choir gives public concerts. In 2013 she took technical Ball Room dance lessons at the Fried Astaire Dance studio. She came in first place in all four competitions. In 2014 she came in first place at the Fred Astaire World Competition in Las Vegas. In 2015 she appeared in the Off Broadway play "The Events" at the New York Theater Workshop. In 2016 she sang at the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival's world premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner David Lang's Choral event. During her lifetime Joan travelled around the world to Alaska, Canada, various Caribbean Islands, South Africa, Senegal Africa, six cities in Mexico, Hawaii, visited ten cities in China, Costa Rica, Japan, Panama and traveled through the Panama Cana. Joan toured England, Paris, Italy and visited 21 states in the United States. Her hobbies consisted of floral designing, reading, writing, researching family history, and travelling around the world. Joan's favorite songs were "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven and "Blue Danube Waltz" by Straus.
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