Helen “Joanne” Pope

January 12, 1924 - August 17, 2019


Helen Joanne Pope passed away the morning of August 17, 2019. She was the only child of Atta Rae and Otto Frederick Nahrung, born in Pleasant Hill, MO on January 12th, 1924. Her father was a farmer in Missouri, who passed away at a very young age. After her father’s death during the Great Depression, Joanne spent summers on the farm, with her grandmother, Sadie McFarland and her aunt, Faye Elder. During that time, her mother worked as a cosmetologist to make ends meet. Atta Rae, remarried to Ralph Witham and with her new family, moved to Lincoln, NE.

At the age of 16, Joanne attended Baker University, where she met her future husband Donald D. Pope, who became an F4 pilot in the US Navy during WWII. Donald received his wings and the two were married in Corpus Christi, TX, on September 12, 1944. After the war, Joanne and Donald settled near Kansas City, KS, where they had three sons; the eldest, Ralph Kent, born in 1945, second born son Donald Jr., born in 1949 and youngest, Mark, born in 1954. Joanne’s Christian faith was a great source of strength during the loss of her son Ralph at age 14.

The family moved to Dundee, Illinois in 1966 and after Don, Jr. and Mark left home to begin their careers, she and Donald moved to Long Island, NY, where they lived for 12 years. Joanne turned down a registrar position with the Naval Architect School in NY, so that she and her husband could begin, what was to be a successful, new business together in Kansas City in 1984. After selling their business, they enjoyed retirement together until Donald’s death in 2004. Joanne continued to live in Kansas until 2012, when she moved to Port Townsend, WA, to be near her son Mark and his family. Joanne became a Jefferson Healthcare Hospice patient in the summer of 2018 and passed away nearly a year later, peacefully in her sleep, with her son Mark and faithful K-9 companion “Bongo” at her bedside.

Joanne’s involvement in the church has always been central to her life. She felt very blessed to have found the fellowship of Trinity Methodist Church in Port Townsend. A living celebration of her life was held shortly before her passing; all were graced by her sparkling eyes with a warm embrace, a wonderful sense of humor and a heart full of love.

She chose this poem specifically to be read at her memorial.

Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way that you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well---
- Henry Scott Holland

Joanne is survived by her sons; Don Pope Jr. of Shawnee, KS, Mark Pope of Port Townsend, and grandchildren Raven, Ciel, Donnie III, and Tanna.

Memorial donations can be made to Jefferson Healthcare Home Health and Hospice.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment