May 12, 1957 – November 24, 2019
Joanna Gramling (Joni) May 12, 1957-November 24, 2019
Joni Gramling, a resident of Gadsden, Alabama, passed away on Sunday, November 24th at UAB hospital in Birmingham after a lengthy illness. She was predeceased by her parents, Joseph L. Gramling and Virginia B. Gramling. Survivors include her sisters Jan Mayhall (Jack) and Terri Bryan (Hobson), as well as nieces Laura Merrill and Ashley Nielsen; nephews John Mayhall, III, and William Nielsen and their families; Special family care members Martha and Mike McCormick and Kay Cosby. Joni was a graduate of Murphy High School in Mobile, and received a B.A. from the University of Alabama where she was a member of Chi Omega sorority. She also earned a Master's degree in Art Education from William Carey College in Mississippi. Her career was spent as an art instructor in the public schools, her last position being at Ashville High School. After her cancer diagnosis, Joni became an active participant in the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation, organizing a team known as Team G, to participate in fundraising runs benefiting ovarian cancer research. Being a chemotherapy patient herself at UAB inspired her to take on a collaborative project with her students to create reproduction art masterpieces for the chemo units. Uniquely, these were painted on ceiling tiles to provide comfort and beauty for those undergoing treatment. Doctors, nurses, and patients alike were delighted with this outreach. Joni, in life, was a fun-loving soul, and a spark in any gathering, and that, and her courageous spirit, are part of her enduring legacy. The family would like to express gratitude to the outstanding team of physicians at UAB. Special thanks to Dr. Rebecca Arend, Dr. Kerri Bevis, Dr. David Doo, and Dr. Trisha Parekh. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any contributions be sent to the Norma Living Cancer Foundation. A graveside service for Joanna will be held Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 12:00 PM at Forrest Cemetery, 700 Walnut Street, Gadsden, Alabama 35901. The family will be at the cemetery at 11 AM to receive friends.Services are conducted by the Reverend Jeff Rowan. Collier Butler Funeral Home will direct services. Pallbearers will be John Mayhall, III, Larry Merrill, Jr., William Nielsen, John McCormick, Lawrence Merrill, III, Chandler Merrill, and John Mayhall, IV. Honorary pallbearers are Jack Mayhall, Mike McCormick, and Joe Boggans. A celebration of life will be held immediately following the service at The Rail in downtown Gadsden—all are welcome to attend. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.collier-butler.com for the Gramling family.
- Graveside Service Tuesday, December 3, 2019
December 6, 2019
Joni and I first met in the nursery of our church- our parents claimed that we were the loudest criers. That friendship grew as we went to VBS and MYF and attended summer camp at Blue Lake together. And then there was the time our mothers encouraged (forced) us to join the hand bell choir. Through all of these activities there was one constant- Joni’s fun-loving spirit and sense of humor. I think everyone who knew her loved that about her the most. Although we were roommates after college as we started our first jobs, life took us in different directions. I was so happy to read that Joni made teaching art her profession. Her students were very lucky. Her creativity and exuberant personality made this the perfect occupation for her.
I know how much she will be missed by Jan , Terri, her nieces and nephews, family and friends; she was a bright light. Rest peacefully, sweet friend.
December 2, 2019
My fondest memory of Ms. G was when we had our art teacher Bob Ross workshop. She was an amazing teacher and made an impact on her students. From one art teacher to another- thanks Ms. G for sharing your love of art to your students and for being an inspiration to all of us. You will be missed. As Bob Ross said, “Every day is a good day when you paint.” Keep painting Ms. G!
December 1, 2019
When I was a senior in her art class, my dad had open heart surgery after a month of testing and figuring out the issue.
Mrs G could just tell I was stressed and asked if I would want to paint a ceiling tile ( this made me smile because I wasn’t great at painting )
Everyday after that before leaving class she always asked how my night was and how my dad was. Just that small gesture made me feel so special and calm.
After I graduated she would every so often check in and message me on Facebook to see how I was. It meant so much to have a teacher you looked up to take interest in you even after graduation. She was so kind and thoughtful and an amazing soul
November 26, 2019
Joni’s spark of life still continues in our hearts and memories of her.... her smile was rife with spontaneity, spunk and impishness, as was her approach to life.... when we first met in 1976 we instantly bonded at our siblings’ wedding. Different lives, distance and then divorce prevented an ongoing friendship, but when we met again at our nephew’s wedding, it was as though no years had passed. She was still the same bubbly, genuine Joni, with that same smile...... a smile that will endure in each of us who knew her....