Mrs. Joanne Paul Allison, age 79 of Nashville, passed away Wednesday evening, January 25, 2017, following an extended illness, at the Meadows Senior Living Community in Nashville.
Joanne was born October 8, 1937, in Randolph County, GA, to the late Ross Herbert and Mary Ellen Hicks Paul. She attended Georgia Baptist School of Nursing in Atlanta where she received her degree as a Registered Nurse. Her career began in Atlanta at Georgia Baptist Hospital. During that time, she met a young Gene Allison. Their lives together continued from their marriage in 1960 until her passing.
Shortly after marriage, Joanne and Gene moved to Nashville. Joanne left nursing for a greater call – motherhood. In the years that followed she raised her two sons: Andy and Gerald throughout their school years. Once they were out of the home, she returned to nursing at St. Thomas Hospital. This portion of her career extended over the next 20 years. Once again, called into service of her family, she retired from nursing in 2001 to provide more care for her aging mother.
Joanne had opportunity to travel, and was able to combine her love of travel with her commitment to caring for others. Before her marriage, she was a counselor at Camp Crestridge for Girls in North Carolina, where she formed lifelong friendships. She was part of medical mission trips to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, China, and joined her husband to build a new church building in Kenai, Alaska, for Mt. Redoubt Baptist Church, which was pastored by a former college classmate. She had a great love of the outdoors, and enjoyed hiking, camping, and rafting trips throughout the US and Canada.
Throughout life she was active and athletic. She was an avid sports player – enjoying basketball in high school, and later tennis and golf. She was active in the Tennessee Ladies Golf Association and was part of the Mayor’s Effort to encourage Nashvillians to walk and remain active. Later, Joanne focused on water aerobics at the Green Hills YMCA. This allowed her to remain active and provided her the opportunity to meet a special group of friends.
In addition to her service as wife, mother and nurse, Joanne was a dedicated member of Brook Hollow Baptist Church. The family joined the church shortly after their move to Nashville and remain a part of the family today. She supported the activities of the church in all areas. She was simply part of the force and pulse of the congregation. Always visible in her participation in her Ladies Sunday School Class, she was a great listener and student, but when she opened her mouth to speak you knew words of mercy and wisdom would follow. A master at building life-long relationships, Joanne was able to connect members with others, new ministries and new opportunities within the congregation.
Joanne was a birder who traveled to see bird habitats, but also enjoyed the view of her backyard; feeding birds, learning their calls, and sharing those calls with her family and friends. She was a voracious reader who believed in continuing to educate herself, spiritually, professionally, and personally, as well. She knew she could help others by furthering her knowledge of nursing, computers, and languages through community college courses.
Her commitment to education was not limited to her own needs. She was active in the medical studies at Vanderbilt University focused on the Memory and Aging Research Project. Knowing its value to help others, she endured mental and physical experiences to further the research as a subject.
Joanne always remained faithful to her Creator. She approached life as a servant, caring for her family, friends and community – always with a smile. She knew the purpose of her calling and served her Savior throughout. Her passion for life, dedication for service, and devotion to her God will be missed by all who knew her.
Joanne is survived by her husband of 56 years: Gene Allison of Nashville; two sons: Andy Allison of Los Angeles, CA and Gerald Allison of Ashland City, TN; a sister: Ella Mae Cowart of Bronwood, GA; and two nephews: Steve Cowart (June) and Ross Cowart (Diane).
Her family will receive friends on Sunday, January 29 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home, and again from 12:00 – 1:00 PM on Monday, January 30 at Brook Hollow Baptist Church. A Celebration of Life will begin at 1:00 PM at the church, officiated by Rev. Tom Gholson. Burial will follow in the Garden of Serenity at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens.
The family requests in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Joanne Paul Allison Memorial Scholarship Fund at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University, University Advancement, 3001 Mercer University Drive, Atlanta, GA 30341.