Joan Flanders

By on October 30, 2008

            Joan Flanders, 87, of Kaneville, passed away in her home, surrounded by the love of her family, on Friday, Oct. 24, 2008. She is now free to dance through the days with her husband, Russell, who passed away in March.

            She was born Nov. 30, 1920, the daughter of Florus and Jessie (Anderson) Nagel in Armington, Ill.

            Joan grew up in Armington and attended local schools. She graduated at the age of 16 from Armington High School in 1936 and won a scholarship to attend the University of Illinois, where she majored in home economics. After graduation, she was hired to teach at Kaneville High School.

            Joan found the love of her life when she met Russell Flanders. He stole her heart, and they were united in marriage on Christmas Eve, 1943, in the Wesley Methodist Church in Aurora. They began their new life together back on the Flanders’ family farm.

            Joan continued to teach until 1945, when the first of five children was on the way. After her children were raised, she worked as a substitute teacher and sold real estate. She was a faithful member of Kaneville United Methodist Church and held many positions, including 25 years as the Superintendent of Sunday school.

            Joan was also a member of several committees in the community, including Women’s Committee of the Kane County Farm Bureau, Teeple Barn Preservation Committee, Porkette’s (the women’s committee of the Pork Producers), and chairing the local American Cancer Society fund drives.

            She enjoyed traveling with her loving husband to Hawaii (which was her favorite), Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lampur, among other fantastic destinations. They also took family trips throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, making memories with every mile. When the kids were young, she enjoyed taking them to the resort run by her sister Donna and brother-in-law Duane in Hayward, Wis., and in a camper to various national parks, including Yellowstone, the Badlands and Banff.

            All Joan’s children and grandchildren appreciated having her attend their sports events, concerts, Sunday school programs, school programs and concerts.  Even with all the travel, her heart loved being at home with family the best.

            She leaves five children, Russetta (William) Rauch of Naperville, Ruth Ann (John) Michelsen of Aurora, Janet (Dennis) Smith of Chicago, Jean (Stewart) Holmes of Oakland, N.J. and Tom (Carol) Flanders of Kaneville; 14 grandchildren, Matt Rauch of Naperville, Michelle (Anand Behera) Rauch of Rosemont, Ill.,             Douglass Rauch of Wilmington, Ill., Nancy (Paul) Rivas of Aurora, Rebecca (Richard) Michelsen-Holcombe of Bowling Green, Va., Edward Russell (Debra) Smith of Glendale Heights, Ill., Thomas (Ayanna) Smith of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Dena Smith of Collaroy, NSW, Australia, Dana Holmes of Burlington, Vt., Russell Holmes of New York, N.Y., Nate Flanders of Kaneville, Ben Flanders of Sycamore, Russell Flanders of Kaneville and  Zach Flanders of Kaneville; six great-grandchildren, Danielle Rauch, Emily Rauch, Tobias Rivas, Zemira Joy Rivas, Duncan Smith and Griffin Russell Smith; two sisters, Donna Fay Leach of Sarasota, Fla., and Gitana (Dean) Folkes of Sarasota, Fla.; one brother, Weldon (Bernita) Nagel of Rogers, Ark.; many nieces, nephews, cousins and a family of friends.

            She now joins her husband, Russell, and her parents, who preceded her in death.

            Visitation was Tuesday, Oct. 28, at Kaneville United Methodist Church. A memorial service to celebrate her life was held Wednesday, Oct. 29. Rev. Jason Turner, pastor of the church, officiated, and interment followed at Kaneville Cemetery .

            A memorial has been established in her name to benefit the American Cancer Society, Kaneville United Methodist Church and the Kane County Farm Bureau Scholarship Fund. Tributes and checks may be made to the “Joan Flanders Memorial” and mailed to the family in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, IL  60119 or through