Joanna Bills Stauts went home to be with the Lord on March 27, 2019.
Joanna was born in Paducah, Texas to James B. Bills and Betty Bearden Bills as their only child. During her early life, she lived in West Texas, Texarkana, Karnack, and finally Marshall, Texas.
She was a proud graduate of Marshall High School in 1969, and sang in the All-State Choir as a senior. Three months after graduating from high school, she met the love of her life, Rick Stauts, who had just returned from Vietnam. They dated for nearly four years and were married in 1973. During the 45 plus years of their marriage, they lived in Texarkana, Texas; Ruston, Louisiana; Morgan City, Louisiana; Tallahassee, Florida; and finally, in Homestead, Florida.
In 1983, Joanna graduated from Nicholls State University with a degree in Art Education. Three months later, she began what would be a 20-year career as a Middle School Art teacher, first in Morgan City, and later at Fairview and Swift Creek Middle Schools in Tallahassee. Two of Joanna's greatest joys were serving her Lord and encouraging her young students to use their imagination.
In July, 2012, she was diagnosed with colon cancer that had metastasized to her liver. As the cancer progressed over the past six plus years, the display of her faith in the Lord served as a witness to others. She knew God had a plan for her life and she just wanted to follow that plan. As her disease progressed, Joanna knew that she was either going to be healed in this life or be healed as she left this life. She always believed that she was not a human being having a spiritual experience, but was rather a spiritual being having a human experience. That human experience ended on March 27, 2019.
Joanna leaves behind her husband Rick, two uncles, Louis Bearden of Floydada, Texas, and James Dempsey of Seminole, Texas, a host of cousins, and many friends and former students whose lives she touched. Rick would particularly like to thank Drs. Paul Kaywin, Marcus Esquinazi, Miguel Rodriguez, David Scholl, Victoria Roberts, John Sokolowicz, Ripal Gandhi, Martin Cohen, and Nicholas Lambrou. Also to be thanked are the wonderful staffs of East Ridge at Cutler Bay and Vitas Healthcare.
Joanna was be cremated at her request and will be interred next to her parents at Grange Hall Cemetery in Marshall, Texas. She loved East Texas in the spring, so Rick will take her home for burial June 8, 2019 at 11:00 am. The graveside service at that time will be handled by Sullivan Funeral Home in Marshall.