It started with a letter in September of 1993. I was living in Pendleton, Oregon. My wife had just died and I had a one-week old daughter and a seven-year-old son. Joan and I would spend hours each night on the phone. Kenny G and Windham Hill provided the music. We talked about her stories of being a Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade elementary school teacher at Ladd Elementary in Kansas City, Missouri and Saint Bernadette. We talked about growing up in Kansas City, about Saint Elizabeth, Saint Teresa, and Dodge City, Kansas. We just talked. Every week I would send her flowers. Every week we would write. We got married on July 23, 1994.
Joan will be remembered for many things. She was a sister, a teacher and a friend to many people. But for me (as her husband) she will be remembered as someone who saved my life and raised two children as if she had borne them. Thirteen years ago we began the journey of Alzheimer’s. Some people say that it is a “Long Goodbye” but for us it was a chance to gather memories that would last a lifetime. She was only 52 when she developed Alzheimer’s. Yet, she kept her smile and her laugh and her incredible joy. We will miss her. When we get to heaven and we meet God we will thank Him for giving us Joan.
She is survived by her husband, Paul S. Franco and children Timothy Franco and Sarah Franco. Her sister and brothers are Kay Murphy Collins, Jack Murphy, Tom Murphy and her many nephews and nieces. We could not end this without saying thank you to Margarita Avilla, Maria Lugan, Reyna Hernandez, Blanca Santos and Simone Kavenaugh who cared for and allowed Joan to live at home. Vitas Hospice and all of their staff allowed Joan to die at home with dignity. She was born May 19, 1952 and she died on January 7, 2018. When she arrives in heaven her father and mother and sister will be awaiting to show her heaven.
Visitation was held on Friday, Jan. 12th at First Church of the Nazarene (11811 State Line Rd., KCMO 64114). Mass of Christian Burial followed at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, 2 E. 75th St., KCMO 64114. Burial following at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

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