Joan Dianne Humphrey

April 18, 1948 ~ October 29, 2021 (age 73)


Joan Dianne Humphrey unexpectedly took her final breaths and entered into eternity on October 29, 2021, in the arms of her grandson Jonathan at her home in Fairbanks, Alaska at the age of 73.  She was born in Columbia, Tennessee, on April 18, 1948, and lived her first 5 years on a farm as the fifth of seven children to Reverend Burnis and Juanita Humphrey.

Joan grew up in McEwen, Tennessee and graduated from McEwen High School in 1966. She then moved to Springfield, Missouri, where she completed x-ray technician school at Burge Protestant Hospital and began her x-ray career.

While in Springfield, she married Daniel Beckdahl and three children were born: Lori Dawn, Benjamin Daniel, and Lisa Dianne Beckdahl.  She moved to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1977, raising her children and eventually gaining the title of Gramma Joanie, which she delighted in, to no end.

 She worked at the Medical Dental Arts Clinic for 43 years and was known for her excellence in her field. She retired March 2020, never having taken one day of sick leave. She held membership in and met regularly with a close-knit and unique 9-member society who all had been x-raying in Fairbanks since the 1970s, the F.A.R.T.S. (Fairbanks Aging Radiation Technologist Society).

After retirement, she loved having time to pursue her various interests and hobbies, visiting with people on the phone, selling her honey at Calypso’s Southside Community Farmer’s Market, and meeting her friends for dinner at Brewster’s.

Joan was fun-loving and loved to laugh and tease, even from a young age.  Her sense of humor and contagious smile brought great joy to many peoples’ lives.

She was no stranger to hardships and overcame each one with forgiveness and trusting God. She would then comfort others with the same comfort she had received.  She was a loyal friend and faithful companion to so many, coming alongside them through their difficulties in life, remembering them on painful anniversaries with phone calls and encouragement, and walking through life’s deep valleys with them. She lived her faith in Jesus in a very practical way, faithfully helping with and praying for the needs around her. John 15:13 summarizes her life well, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

She grew to understand that a relationship with God was much more than complying with man-made rules, rather it was receiving the precious forgiveness and love Jesus has for us and then following Him by giving that love away to those around.

Joan was hard-working, determined, and very skilled.

She was a giver and very generous with her resources and time. She loved supporting International Friends of Compassion and Fragrance of Christ ministries. She had a great knack for finding the perfect gifts and funny cards for people.

Family meant the world to her. She was very proud of her children Lori and Ben and their spouses and loved her role and title as Gramma Joanie. She was a mentor and like a mother and grandma to so many. She stayed closely connected with her siblings and extended family and would go to Tennessee every year for the Humphrey and Rountree family reunions, coming back speaking “y’all”.

Joan was an extremely passionate person. Whenever she got interested in something, she went all in and became a master at it, and then shared it with others. Some of her many passions over the years were growing roses, perennial gardening, rafting at her cabin, snowshoeing, collecting baskets, foreign languages, reading, beekeeping, and chickens. She was also the fastest raspberry, blueberry, and potato picker you ever did meet.

Joan was very musical and always had a song on heart to sing or hum. She would often get a little ditty in her head and need to go plunk it out by ear on the piano or guitar, always in the key of C. At the age of 70, she surprised the family by learning to play the accordion very well and loved to share her peppy songs with others. She even learned to repair her accordion collection.

She loved tending to and taking care of things like plants and animals and was known by all for her beautiful perennial garden and amazing raspberry patch. She was an excellent editor and writer. She was also resourceful; engineering and constructing her own projects to fulfil her interests and needs like the chicken mansions in her yard and back patio. Recently, she was enjoying her retirement while doting on her chickens, and, oh, the stories she could tell—her very own “Chicken Tales.”  Now she is enjoying retirement in heaven where she would love to see you again. Please consider opening your heart to receive Jesus’ precious love and forgiveness and invitation into His family. Eternity is just a breath away.

Joan was dearly loved. Her death left an enormous hole in the lives of her family and friends.

She is survived by her daughter, Lori Ebel and husband Norbert and their sons David and Jonathan of Fairbanks, Alaska; her son Benjamin Beckdahl and wife Rose and their children Elijah, Noah, and Ruby, of New Zealand; her siblings Joy Gwin, of Kentucky; Dawn Phelps (Tom) of Kansas; Hope Olson (Paul) of Florida; Gary Humphrey of Kansas; and Mary Anne Cherry (Wilton) of Tennessee. She also leaves behind a host of extended family members and friends. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Burnis and Juanita Humphrey of Kansas; her sister Gay Corlew of Tennessee, brothers-in-law Ralph Thorn of Kansas, and Richard Gwin of Kentucky, and her infant daughter Lisa Dianne.

If desired, memorial contributions may be sent to the family C/O Blanchard Family Funeral Home, 611 Noble Street, Fairbanks, Alaska 99701.

A funeral service will be held at Jubilee Worship Center, 541 3rd Street, Fairbanks, Alaska on November 9, 2021, at 6:30pm with a viewing prior from 4:30-6:30pm. Following the service at 9pm there will be a time of food and fellowship at Brewsters on Old Steese Highway. The service will also be available to watch live on the Blanchard Family Funeral Home Facebook page. Please consider bringing a written memory and a story to share as we will be compiling a memoir of her life for her family and friends. If unable to attend, you may send your memoirs to and for the compilation. Please include how you know her and what you loved about her in your story.

 A celebration of life and burial service will be held towards the end of May 2022, in Fairbanks, Alaska when her son’s family and other family members hope  to attend.


                                                                      Burial and Memorial Service Announcement

 A burial service for Joan Humphrey will be held at 3:15pm this Sunday June 12, 2022, at Northern Lights Memorial Park at 2318 Yankovich Rd, Fairbanks, Alaska. It will be followed at 5pm by a potluck with a time of fellowship, sharing memories, and meeting her family at McGrath Road Baptist Church, 1100 McGrath Rd, Fairbanks, Alaska. To read Joans’s full obituary you may go to the Blanchard Family Funeral Home’s website. 

We have compiled a memory book for Joan’s family and friends. If one would be meaningful to you, please reach out to her daughter Lori at before June 20 th . Condolences and cards may be sent to the family at PO Box 10927, Fairbanks, Alaska 99710.

Joan lived a full life, loving many and being loved by many. She is greatly missed but is now enjoying eternity in heaven with Jesus where she hopes to see you someday. Consider opening your heart and life to Jesus and following Him.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan Dianne Humphrey, please visit our floral store.

Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Joan

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June 12, 2022

3:15 PM
Northern Lights Memorial Park

June 12, 2022

5:00 PM
Mcgrath Rd Baptist Church

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