Cover photo for Joy Annette (Henshaw)  Craighead's Obituary
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Joy Annette (Henshaw) Craighead

August 2, 1940 — January 25, 2024


Joy Annette Craighead, 83, of Mission, Kansas, died peacefully at AdventHealth in Merriam on January 25 surrounded by her family and comforted by her faith.

She was born in Kansas City, Kansas, to Arthur James Henshaw and Ruby Opal (Kilgore) Henshaw. She graduated from Argentine High School in 1958 and attended Bethany Nazarene College and MidAmerica Nazarene College and was one of the first students at Johnson County Community College. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. She was a longtime educator in the Kansas City Missouri School District.

Joy met the love of her life, Ronny Craighead, at a church function in the spring of 1960. They were married six weeks later and were inseparable for nearly 64 years. Together they raised two children, spoiled grandchildren and great grandchildren, maintained friendships with high school classmates, made friends through various hobbies, road tripped across the United States, and spent time with extended family as often as they could.

A committed educator and lifelong learner, Joy served as a paraeducator and reading specialist for many years in the Kansas City Missouri School District before earning her bachelor’s degree from UMKC at the age of 50 and becoming a classroom teacher. She was respected by her colleagues for her dedication to her students and enthusiasm for teaching. Her family remembers the piles of materials for bulletin boards spread across the dining room table and helping with craft projects for her classroom. She passed on her respect for education to her grandchildren. A highlight each year was back-to-school shopping with grandma, starting with the first grandkid in kindergarten and culminating with dorm room shopping before the youngest’s freshman year in college.

Never one to become bored, Joy welcomed adventures both large and small. She sought new experiences through a voracious appetite for books. She loved trying new foods and recipes, trying a new class at the health club, and breaking in new personal trainers. When driving, she was never lost; she was taking the scenic route and exploring. She looked forward to hiking in the mountains and bumping along jeep roads during the family camping trips in southwest Colorado every August for 25 years. After she and Ronny retired, they drove up and down both coasts and to many places in between. Many of these trips were to meet with friends made through the Heavenly Daze book club. They took cruises to Mexico and the Caribbean, where they explored villages and ancient ruins. Joy traveled to Germany to welcome her first grandchild, who had other ideas and didn’t arrive until Grandma had already flown home.

Joy’s greatest pleasure was her family. She remained close to her aunts, uncles, and cousins throughout her life. She relished her role of big sister. She loved being surrounded by her people at family dinners, graduation parties, weddings, and holidays. There was always room for a plus one—the more the merrier. This was especially true of the vacations at Lillys’ Landing on Lake Taneycomo. Besides housing her kids and grandkids, she included her sisters, brother-in-law, random friends, and cousins. The cabin had a revolving door and seemingly expandable footprint.

Joy was a tireless supporter of whatever was important to the people important to her. She was in the stands for all of Ron’s sprint car races at Lakeside and Riverside speedways and often helped out in the press box by counting laps. She also rose early on weekends to cheer him on during 10Ks and marathons. She and Ron were on the sidelines of every one of their kids’ cross country and track meets during high school and beyond, and they attended most of their grandkids’ sporting events, dance performances, musicals, and concerts.

Joy is survived by her husband, Ronald Craighead; daughter, Annette Pierce (Steve); son, John Craighead (Jo Ann); sisters Linda Phillips and Treva Jones; grandchildren Jennifer Funk (Brian), Jeremiah Craighead (Meghan), Joe Pierce, and Luisa Pierce; great grandchildren Leah Funk, Axel Funk, Griffith Craighead, and Victor Craighead; nephews Harlan Hurst, Stacy Hurst, Phillip Kreisler, and Christopher Jones; and niece Sabin James.

Joy was known for her big heart, quirky and sly sense of humor, and zest for life. Her spirit will remain in the hearts of her family and friends, reminding them to live each day with love and laughter.

A visitation will be held at Amos Funeral Home at 10 a.m. followed by a service at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 11, 2024.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to a charity that is meaningful to the donor.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joy Annette (Henshaw) Craighead, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Monday, March 11, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Monday, March 11, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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