Joyce Cessna

Cessna jpeg (1)

Joyce Cessna passed away peacefully at home in Overland Park, Kansas, on January 12, 2022, after a courageous battle with cancer and heart failure.

Joyce was born on September 8, 1943, in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Leo and Dorothy (Stapleton) Siminis. She lived in the Kansas City area throughout her adult life.

She graduated from Riverview Gardens High School in St. Louis County and earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Central Missouri State College.

Joyce married John Cessna in 1968 in St. Louis, MO.

She was an elementary teacher in the Independence School District, retiring after 38 years.

After Joyce retired, they completed a major remodel to their home, which included an extensive water garden. In their retirement, Joyce and John enjoyed traveling. Joyce enjoyed crossword puzzles and seldom ended her day without completing the USA Today daily puzzle.  She loved gardening and entertaining at their home.  She also enjoyed cooking and baking and was quick to provide a meal or baked items to friends and family. 

Joyce and John had three Maine Coon cats.  Their most recent addition, Bosley, came with a brother, Charley who recently passed away.  Bosley has survived and is a great company to John.

Joyce enjoyed being physically active and ran several miles every day for many years. She completed the Kansas City Humana-Prime Health Marathon and several other running events. She also taught water aerobics for more than 20 years.

Joyce was active in the community. She was a member of People to People for 34 years and has friends throughout the world.  She and John were involved in the New Theatre Scholarship Guild.

Survivors include Amelia Jensen, of Chicago, IL, Richard Siminis, of Leawood, KS, Carol Denes, of Prairie Village, KS and Nancy Offerman (Ken), Manchester, MO; many loving nieces and nephews, great-nieces, a great-nephew and longtime devoted friends Jerry and Gail Ward of Overland Park, KS.


Details for a Celebration of Life will be announced later.

Memorial Contributions

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Wayside Waifs, and Saint Lukes’ Hospice. 



  1. Gary Hamilton II on April 13, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    I am very saddened by the news of Joyce’s passing. As a high school student, John was a great mentor of engineering and life to me. I recall many occasions spent at the home of John and Joyce, when John and I would be hard at work building science experiment gear, building zenpond and enjoying our comradery. Joyce, on many occasions, made delicious dinners and deserts of which I was invited to partake. One Thanksgiving holiday while attending college at KU, my family had relocated to the Carolinas, which left me no place for the Thanksgiving / fall break. John and Joyce were very gracious to give me a room to stay for the week and a family with which to spend the holiday. Joyce enjoyed life; her laugh and smile are permanently imprinted in my memory. Rest in peace, Joyce. And my thoughts and wishes are with you, John.

  2. Nathaniel Anderson on February 19, 2022 at 11:17 pm

    As I have grown older, I have been surprised by how quickly much of the clarity of my memory has become less and less refined, content melding into context, emotions mixing-up with once distinct events; yet there are some that remain as clear to me today as the day they occurred. Many of those memories were ones that I made in the loving presence of Joyce Cessna. My Aunt Joyce (as I came to know her) always meant the highlights of my early years. When I couldn’t wait to get dressed up for an evening adventure to the Plaza for dinner, followed by a sleigh ride to see the lights, and crown center to see the real santa clause. A weekend trip to her home in Leawood, meant that the most interesting and cherished gifts would be bestowed on me, my favorite homemade chocolate chip cookies and the only kittie cats that I knew in childhood. Joyce was my God-mother, John is my God-father. To me in those early years, simply mentioning their names gave me the greatest pride in myself, self esteem and grand expectations that I was never disappointed to encounter. My life was enriched dramatically by her influence, and my heart made deeply and charismatically empathetic by her love. Yet she also taught me fortitude, perseverance and morality by her strict expectations. The quality of my life is elevated from her in ways that I simply cannot explain. Her spirit is deeply missed- but her love now lives on through all of those she touched with her graceful tender care- and the best hugs on earth.
    Aunt Joyce- Thank you for loving me and being such a great role model in how to create a life full of vibrance and meaning and most of all Love.

  3. Pat Ross on February 3, 2022 at 3:54 pm

    John, so sorry about the loss of Joyce. It is so hard and I am thinking of you.

  4. Teddi Oppenheimer on January 31, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    I enjoyed working with Joyce at JCPR activities. I shared her love of cats, and always enjoyed her Christmas cards with their picture. She was so kind to me when I lost my beloved cat. Always enjoyed seeing her and John at art exhibits.

  5. Hertb and Lana Farnsworth on January 31, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    I so loved working with Joyce at Wm Southern. We would still meet for birthday lunches almost every year. I loved her sense of humor and beautiful smile. We had many laughs and shared wonderful stories over the years. She will be missed so much. John & Family, thinking of you and praying for your peace and comfort.

  6. Lynda McCoy on January 31, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Joyce was my water aerobics instructor for several years and then we would see each other at the Matt Ross Community Center. We also enjoyed several lunches together. We also shared a love for cats and I so enjoyed getting their Christmas card with pictures of their beloved cats. I know she will be missed.

  7. Nancy Pozin on January 30, 2022 at 10:00 am

    Joyce was one of the most thoughtful people in the world. Often times she figured out a way you needed her help before you did! Joyce was a wonderful cook and often times that help was in the form of a meal or delicious cookies! I had surgery shortly before she passed away …… she brought me a meal! She is missed!

  8. Valerie Barrett on January 25, 2022 at 9:14 am

    I know you are missing her. And how much you loved her. We will all miss her gentle ways

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