JoAnne Ketchum Tuesdays – The Oxford Eagle


JoAnne Ketchum Mardis began life on Rufus Ketchum and Mildred Shelton Ketchum’s farm on March 2, 1948, in Tippah County, Mississippi.

Like most farm children of her day, she milked cows, raised pigs, cut and picked cotton, and learned to drive a tractor. After graduating from high school and tired of farm life, she moved to Memphis. His goal was to become a secretary. She attended a business school and a Southern Bible University.

In May 1968, she met her future husband, Larry Mardis, and they were married in 1971. JoAnne has held a variety of jobs including as a secretary, sales tax collector, small business owner and, finally, at post Office.

Later in her life she sold honey at Oxford Farmers’ Markets. Having a civic mind, she volunteered at an elementary school to do pair / repeat reading with students who had reading problems.

For 20 years, she worked in Bingo as a fundraising activity with a Lions Club. The Louisiana School Psychological Association (LSPA) presented her with an award for her volunteerism at the organization’s annual convention.

When she lived in Clinton, Louisiana, she was a school board supervisor and was interviewed several times by Baton Rouge television stations. She once organized a group to elect new school board members. This group managed to defeat 7 of the 12 school board members.

She was Master Gardner, a member of the Daughters of American Revolution (DAR) and St. Andrews Methodist Church in Oxford. She was very proud to have two promotion majors in the family – daughter and grandson and possibly a third with her granddaughter. She rarely missed an Ole Miss football or basketball game.

After the kids left home, JoAnne and Larry moved to Taylor, Mississippi, and decided to travel and see the world. The trips have taken them to all 50 states and 17 countries. She has spent birthdays visiting Paris, admiring the Sistine Chapel in Rome, floating on the Rhine in Germany, hiking to the Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon, cruising the Caribbean and sightseeing Washington, DC On a retirement trip, JoAnne and Larry drove the Alaskan. Road to Alaska, which took 40 days and covered 12,000 miles.

Later in life, she decided that she needed to do more to make people’s lives easier, which she saw as her Christian duty in life. She and Larry have taken mission trips to repair homes damaged by floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. She made two trips to Africa. The second trip involved drilling a water well at a small Methodist hospital in Zimbabwe. Her favorite vacation trip was to Iceland. On this trip to Iceland and later to Eastern Europe, she was not feeling well.

After returning home, she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic / myeloproliterative disease and underwent a stem cell transplant at MDAnderson in Houston, TX. The stem cell transplant was successful, but she compromised her immune system. A bacterial infection caused his death on September 17, 2021.

She will be buried at 10 am on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, in Antioch Cemetery near Ripley, Mississippi, on land owned by the family since the late 1830s. Boyfriend. Billy Owen will officiate.

She leaves behind Larry, her husband of 50 years. A daughter Karen (Andrew Lafferty) and two grandchildren – Caleb, who is a student at Brown University, and Anna, who is in her final year of high school. A son Matthew (Mandy) and two grandchildren – Abby, who is in fifth grade, and Brayden, who is 4.

She is also survived by one brother Fred Ketchum and four sisters Pat Fiveash, Helen (Wesley) Reed, Kathy Ketchum and Carolyn (Mike) Jones. Two brothers – Larry Ketchum (Sharon) and Elmer Lee Ketchum (Dorothy) – predeceased her.

Due to COVID, there will only be a cemetery service for vaccinated relatives and friends. In lieu of flowers, please donate to a charity of your choice.

Arrangements by: McBride Funeral Home, Ripley, MS, www.mcbridefuneralhome.com

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