Joan Morris: 1921-2019
'For her whole life she was a deeply committed Christian, with a very meaningful and personal prayer life'
Joan Davis was born 1 May 1921 in Whitstable, Kent, the only child of Harold and Gladys Davis. The family moved to Harrow, Middlesex, where Joan went to school and then trained as a nurse. She was a member of College Road Baptist Church, Harrow where she met her husband, Jack Morris. They married in 1942. Jack was a naval Officer, serving during the war, so during the first few years of their married life, they only saw each other when he was on leave. Between 1944 and 1948 they had four children, and also moved to Reading in Berkshire.
In Reading they became members of Wycliffe Baptist Church. Jack served as a deacon and Church Treasurer. Joan was a leader in the Christian Endeavour movement, and also led home and prayer groups.
From about 1960 they opened their home to others in need. The first was an eight year little girl with cerebral palsy. She was the daughter of a missionary couple working in Borneo. Because of her severe disabilities, they would not have been able to complete their allocated time on the mission field. So Jack and Joan cared for her for four years, enabling them to complete their mission.
Next they opened their home to a man who had recently released from prison. He professed conversion to the Christian faith, but stole from them and ended up back in prison. Jack and Joan forgave him, and visited him several times in prison before he died. This was followed by a PhD student at Reading University, and a person working in Reading who needed a home. Fifty years later these two remain Joan’s friends, saying how welcome she made them feel. She also offered a home and cared for a gentleman in his 90s and finally her own mother who died in her 90s.
Her husband Jack worked for several years as Head of Administration for the Baptist Union in London. He died, prematurely, in 1977, leaving Joan a widow for 42 years. However, she got on with life, enjoying her family, holidays and Church work. In 1986 she served for a year as President of the Berkshire Baptist Association.
Soon after that she moved to Lytham St. Annes in Lancashire and joined St Anne’s Baptist Church. She then moved to Lancaster, where she joined Caton Baptist Church. She played an active part in the life of both these churches, being appointed as a deacon and then an Elder. In her 70s she studied for and passed the exams to be a lay preacher in the Baptist church. She was a welcome speaker at church services and ladies groups all over Lancashire.
At 90 years old she moved to Rowanberries, MHA in Clayton, near Bradford. Here she joined Clayton Baptist Church. She was not able to lead church services after this, but did lead devotions at Rowanberries. For her whole life she was a deeply committed Christian, with a very meaningful and personal prayer life. She set all an example of the importance of family life and service to others in the church and wider community.
Joan died very peacefully at her home in Rowanberries on 27 June. She was loved, and will be missed by 4 children, 3 daughter in laws, 10 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.