The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


January 3, 2014

Joan Elizabeth Lewis

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Joan E. Lewis, Pittsburg, Kan., passed peacefully from sudden illness at Via Christi Hospital at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 1, 2014.

She was born April 23, 1940, in Pittsburg, to John and Elizabeth Palmer Prete. She was a 1958 graduate of Pittsburg High School and a 1962 graduate of Kansas State College of Pittsburg. She graduated from Pittsburg State University in 1986, with a Master of Education degree. She was a charter member of the local chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority and first attendant for Homecoming Queen at KSCP in 1962.  

Professionally, Joan was a long time educator. After graduating from college she was an elementary educator in Overland Park, Kan., for one year. Next, she taught at George E. Nettels and Westside schools in Pittsburg. In 1988, she moved to Bartlesville, Okla., where she taught at two different elementary schools. Subsequently, she was promoted to principal. In 1992, she moved back to Pittsburg where she was principal at Frank Layden Elementary School through retirement in 1996. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Iota Sorority and PEO. She was also a member of the Italian Heritage Society. She was a member of the Catholic faith.

Joan was also well known for great Italian cooking. She also loved being outdoors gardening. She was employed at the side of her father selling shoes at DeNeve's Shoes and Little's in Pittsburg, while an adolescent.

Home away from home for Joan and her family was Hilton Head Island, S.C., where she loved walking along the beach finding little treasures and spending time with her children.  

She married William L. Sullivan in August 1962. He preceded her in death December 1984. She then married Benjamin Steve Lewis in June 1988. He survives of the home.

She was preceded in death by both parents and two stepbrothers, Thomas Grooms and Bud Grooms; as well as a stepson, Michael Lewis.

She is survived by two sons,  Dr. William J. Sullivan (Tricia), of Pittsburg, and Dr. Brian Sullivan (Laura), of Pittsburg; as well as four grandchildren, Lauren Sullivan, Patrick Sullivan, Ian Sullivan and Colin Sullivan; and three step grandchildren, Chelsea Schmidt, Laci Peck and Elijah Peck.

Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Frontenac, Kan., with Fr. Larry Parker as Celebrant. Burial will follow in the Highland Park Cemetery in Pittsburg. Rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at the Bath-Naylor Funeral Home in Pittsburg; family will receive friends following Rosary. Friends may call the funeral home after 1 p.m. Friday.

In lieu of flowers, the family ask expression of sympathy to be in the form of memorials to the USD 250 Foundation. Friends may drop off or mail memorials to the Bath-Naylor Funeral Home, 522 South Broadway, Pittsburg, KS 66762.

E-mail condolences may be left at

Arrangements and services are under the direction of Bath-Naylor Funeral Home, of Pittsburg.

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