Mary Joann Teegarden was an amazing woman of goodness, talent, practicality, and joy. During her 90 ½ years she raised a family, established enduring friendships in 9 states, and was beloved by many. Her devotion to high school sweetheart, and husband Walter Teegarden, was a 70+ year love story that touched many hearts and exemplified the expression that Home is where the heart is.
Joann was born May 29, 1932 in Marceline, Missouri to parents Reverend Ralph G Allen and Harriet Allen (Glore). Along with older brother Charles, older sister Doralee, and younger sister Janice, she was raised with self-sufficient mid-western values, and learned to extract a rich life from modest means. She was smart (joined the National Honor Society at age 16), pretty (a petite 52 tall, blue eyes, reddish hair), and talented (multiple awards for playing the cello). She graduated from Benton HS in St. Joseph, Missouri in 1950, and continued her education at junior college there. During a high school band event she met a young French Horn player (and engineering student) from nearby St. Joseph High School, Walter Teegarden, who fell head over heels in love with her. They were married on Groundhogs Day, Feb. 2, 1952 in her parents backyard with Joanns father officiating the wedding.