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Virginia Joan Vanderbeek, "Joan", passed away on Thursday, December 21, 2023, at the age of 88. She was preceded in death by her husband James B. Vanderbeek, her daughter Mary Joy, and granddaughter Jasmine Stevens. She is survived by her four children: Paula, Nathan, Andrew, and Michael, and their spouses; by 22 grandchildren, and 39 great-grandchildren.
Joan was born in San Bernardino, California to Zila and James Smith. She lived in a tar papered shack as a child, an orphanage, and with various extended family. She listened to Franklin D. Roosevelt announce the attack on Pearl Harbor over the radio while confined to bed with polio. Her one-armed father found whatever work he could during the depression and her mother worked full time. She attended school in the San Bernardino area and attended college at San Jose Bible College where she met her husband, James. She sang in the choir and played piano and organ. She was a self-taught musician. Joan and James were married August of 1955 in San Jose, California. They lived in an airstream trailer which his father helped them purchase. Later they moved into one of his brother Herbert's houses. In 1958, Paula was born; in 1960 Nathan. They moved to Boise in 1961 where Joan worked for a local CPA. They were active in a variety of church functions and programs, attending Central Christian Church, and the Eighteenth and Eastman Christian Church. They became acquainted with Kenneth Beckman and Orin Hardenbrook who both acted as presidents of the Boise Bible College and were lifelong friends. Joan supported the college most of her life.
Joan and her family moved to Idaho Falls in 1970 where Andrew was born in 1971. They attended the Church of Christ, worked in youth programs, and supported the Pocatello Christian Church startup. Mom loved music and played both organ and piano in every church which she regularly attended. She played classical music LP records on a behemoth stereo as her children grew up. In 1972, Joan and her family moved to Middleton and lived in a camper while a new house was being built. Joan attended the Caldwell Christian Church where she played piano and organ for funerals, weddings, and other church functions. Joan played music from memory. She could play by ear and read sheet music. She was a skilled accompanist and could make instant key changes to accommodate a singer's range. She once again volunteered as the receptionist ex-parte bookkeeper for the Boise Bible College under President Richard Ewing and Dr. Charles Crane and in 1976 Michael was born. She traveled with the BBC choir and played for several school cantatas. She broke her ankle on a snowy day on campus and suffered from the effects for the remainder of her life.
Joan traveled with her husband for pleasure to Jamaica, Hawaii, Israel, Spain, Holland, and other European countries. In 1993, she and James moved to Nampa where she played organ and piano at the Brethren Church. She was active in the office, helped with the church bulletin, visitation, and sent cards to church members. In 2015, Joan took her children and their spouses on a cruise. In 2020 she broke her thigh slipping on the floor at the Brethren Church in Nampa. In the midst of the COVID lockdowns she was not allowed to have visitors and the effect of that isolation was very destructive. From 2020 forward Joan's physical and mental health declined. It was a struggle to find quality in-home care providers. In 2020, Joan moved to Heron Place in Nampa. She lived there for one year. In the Fall of 2023, she was moved into The Cottages at the Village in Boise where she passed away one month later. Joan was able to enjoy the company of three of her children and one granddaughter on her last active evening at a Christmas party two days before she passed away.
Mom's last three years were tough times. Both her hearing and sight faded. She could no longer play piano, nor converse over the phone. Mom has found the peace, comfort, and joy which she longed for in the loving arms or Jesus Christ.
A short graveside service at the Veterans Cemetery will take place on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, and a memorial service at 1 p.m. will be held for Joan at the Church of the Brethren, 11030 Orchard Ave, Nampa, ID, 83651. Services are under the direction of Nampa Funeral Home - Yraguen Chapel, 415 12th Ave South, Nampa ID 83651.