Joan Gunner Milam, beloved mother of 10, grandmother of 28, and great-grandmother of 24, peacefully passed away of natural causes in the comfort of her home October 7, 2019, the day after celebrating her 96th birthday with visits and many cards and calls from her family.
Joan was born October 6, 1923 on the banks of the Mississippi River in Wittenberg, Missouri to the late Michael and Claudia Gunner. She was the eldest of their nine children. Her childhood and early adult years were in Tupelo, Mississippi, where in 1945 she married the love of her life, Thomas Milam, then an Army Air Corps Lieutenant and B-29 Superfortress pilot.
An accomplished pianist from age eleven, she regularly entertained at all family gatherings with classics, as well as a medley of the great songs from the 1940s, which would include “Army Air Corps” (now known as the U.S. Air Force Song) in honor of her husband’s WWII service. He would always sing along until he passed in January 2000. Joan was a Parish organist for some 30 years.
Her commitment to her Catholic faith and love of God, the Father, Jesus, Our Savior and the Blessed Virgin Mary was steadfast throughout her long life. The strength derived from her faith uplifted her and gave her the strength to successfully overcome with the challenges our mortal life most certainly will bring. This enabled her to leave an enduring legacy of love, faith, devotion, and caring for generations to come, including the hope, serenity and sobriety she shared with many of God’s children coping with alcoholism.
She was a prayerful communicant at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Davie, FL. Joan regularly attended Mass through August of this year and gratefully received the Eucharist, including home visits during her final days from the Parish Priest, the Reverend Father Edmond Prendergast.
Joan’s life is a living, breathing testimony of God’s love. Although her physical presence will be missed, her spirit and devotion will always be felt.
The family is receiving visitors on Thursday, October 10th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in T. M. Ralph Funeral Home, 371 NW 136th Avenue in Sunrise. A funeral Mass will be held at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church, 1301 SW 136th Ave in Davie on Friday, October 11th at 9:30 am. Entombment will follow at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to St. Bonaventure Catholic Church (above).
Joan is survived by her 10 loving children and their spouses and offspring, Tom (Paula) and Bob (Donnel) of Brentwood, TN; Milton (Laurel) of Omaha, NE; John (Beth) of Knoxville, TN; Allen (DeeDee) of Stuart, FL; Mike (Debbie), Bill (Katherine), Max (Kim) and Marie Dixon (Darryl), all of Broward County; and Joan Risley (Phil) of Jacksonville.
Arrangments by T.M. Ralph Plantation Funeral Home 371 NW 136 Avenue Sunrise, FL 33325