Joseph P. Teasdale

March 29, 1936May 8, 2014
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Former Missouri Governor Joseph Patrick Teasdale died peacefully and surrounded by family May 8 in Kansas City, Mo. He was 78 years old. Born on March 29, 1936, in Kansas City, he was the son of the late William Teasdale and Adah Downey Teasdale. He will be remembered for his public service, his sense of humor, and his unwavering love of family. His wife of 41 years is the former Theresa Ferkenhoff.

A devout Catholic, Gov. Teasdale graduated from Rockhurst High School, where he is in the Athletic Hall of Fame for his performances in basketball, baseball, and football. He earned an undergraduate degree from Rockhurst University and a law degree in 1960 from Saint Louis University School of Law.

From 1962 to 1966, he served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City, and during this post, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. In 1966, he became the youngest person in Jackson County history to be elected as prosecuting attorney. The Kansas City Junior Chamber of Commerce named him Outstanding Man of the Year in 1969.

During his 1972 run for governor, Gov. Teasdale trekked across the state of Missouri to meet the people and earned the nickname “Walkin’ Joe.” He lost the 1972 election but the next year married the love of his life, Theresa. He ran again in 1976, and pulled off one of the major political upsets of the era to serve as Missouri governor from 1977-1981.

During his tenure, Gov. Teasdale fought for good government, with strict ethical standards and curbs on growth and spending. He focused on the needs of Missouri seniors, establishing the state’s first Division of Aging, and he advocated for those with mental health concerns. He also pardoned 71 firefighters jailed for going on strike despite a county court order.

Although Gov. Teasdale took pride in his public service, he considered his greatest life role being a family man and his crowning achievements marrying a wife he loved dearly and raising three sons. He adored his father, who was his best friend and mentor, and he was close with each of his three sisters. He enjoyed cocktail hour and mandatory family dinners, where he captivated his audience with hilarious stories.

He was an avid hunter and loved taking fishing trips. People were drawn to him. Whether playing cards, playing handball, or just comparing stories, he thrived on social occasions, and no matter where he went, he always ran into someone he knew.

He is survived by his wife, Theresa, and their three sons, Bill (Colleen), John, and Kevin (Kristin), all of Kansas City, and his grandchildren, Joseph Patrick II, Robby, Kieran, Mary Grace, and J.J. Other survivors include two sisters, Sr. Bernadette Marie Teasdale, SCL, Denver, Colo., and Ginny (Bill) Keenan, Franktown, Colo., and his nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his sister, Maureen Galey.

The Rosary will be prayed at 5:00 p.m., Monday, May 12th at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO followed by the visitation until 7:30 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, May 13th, at St. Thomas More. Private burial.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Thomas More, Conception Abbey in Conception, Mo., the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, or the Vincentian Order. Condolences may be left online at Arrangements, McGilley State Line Chapel, 12301 State Line Road, Kansas City, MO, 64145


  • Rosary

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Visitation

    Monday, May 12, 2014

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Joseph P. Teasdale

have a memory or condolence to add?


February 5, 2017

I know you're watching over all of us in heaven. Miss you Joe. Your paralegal and confidant.

Jan Duff Steward-Martin

May 19, 2014

I remember Joe and his parents from family gatherings as a kid. My mom was his moms first cousin. He made an impression on me back then and I was proud to have known him. Still have a photo of me standing by him some summer in some relative backyard. You are in our prayers

David Millin

May 15, 2014

My condolences to the Teasdale family on the loss of Joe. I have wonderful memories of Joe. One of my favorites is from 1968, when I was in the Air Force, just returned from Vietnam. Joe and George Lehr took me to the 7th game of the World Series in St. Louis. Unfortunately Detroit beat St. Louis, but it was a wonderful trip and I thank Joe for it. He was a wonderful man and will be missed by all that knew him.

W Matthew Leisman

May 13, 2014

You and your entire family are in my thoughts and in my prayers. Long before You are ready I know you said goodbye to your dad, be comforted knowing there are those in a far more beautiful place saying "Welcome Home!" Matthew

Marcia Thompson

May 13, 2014

Our Regrets to the Teasdale Family. In thoughts and prayers, we're with you today.
Pat & Marcia
(2nd cousins)

Harv and Judith Moriarty Ebers

May 13, 2014

My family and I worked for Joe Teasdale on both of his statewide campaigns. He provided skilled, ethical and honest leadership for the State of Missouri. My love and Prayers to you, Theresa and your sons, Bill, John and Kevin. Joe has gone to his reward from God that he so faithfully served. Your friends, Harv and Judith Moriarty Ebers

Cathie and Rick Thomas

May 12, 2014

Our family sends condolences to all of you. We are so sorry for your loss. You are the legacy he has left. You are all wonderful boys. Our prayers to you.

Father Luke Byrne S.J.

May 12, 2014

Joe's family and friends
I want you to know I am joining my prayers to all of yours as we accompany Joe on his journey to heaven and the place God has prepared for him with the greatest care.
I met Joe when he was playing baseball for St Elizabeth school in fifth grade and have enjoyed his friendship ever since. So many events shared with him and almost all bring a smile to my heart. He got to do so many wonderful things in his life and the Lord remembers and will reward each of them. May you be comforted in your time of loss

Mike Renner

May 12, 2014

Lunches on Tuesday with Joe and others were very memorial and special. The guys always enjoyed getting together. Joe was a true friend to all. Our prayers and thoughts to the Teasdale family. With our sympathy the Mike Renner family.

Denise Galey

May 12, 2014

I was sorry to hear of "Uncle Joe's" passing. He & Theresa were always so kind to us while I was part of the family. Christmas get together was always fun when we got to participate. Looks like there are many more grand children to carry on his legacy.