The Rev. Joan Erbe (Mrs. Warren H.), 92, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died Wednesday, May 6, 2020, at her home. Services will be held at a later date.
Joan was born in Martinsville, Ind., on March 18, 1928, the daughter of James Leon Pierce and Dorothy Drew. She graduated from DeWitt High School in 1945. After high school she attended the University of Iowa, Garrett-Evangelical Seminary and Kirkwood Community College. Joan was married to Warren H. Erbe of Cedar Rapids in 1952 in Ackley, Iowa. They were parents to three sons, Brian, Jeffrey and Scott.
Early in her life, Joan was the best wife, mother and homemaker. She was also employed by the Sangamon Greeting Card Co. at Kmart West part-time for several years and volunteered as president of Cleveland School PTA. She was active in the music and Sunday school at Trinity United Methodist Church. She founded the Shalom Singers and served as the assistant chancel choir director and director of the choir. She also was employed by Trinity as the coordinator of Christian education and church secretary for a few years.
After her husband's death in 1973, she attended the Church Music Summer School at Garret Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and became certified as an associate in music for the United Methodist Church in 1977. Feeling a calling to expand her ministry, she entered the candidacy program to become an ordained clergy and in 1982 was appointed to be the local pastor of West Chester United Methodist Church at West Chester, Iowa. After attending Garrett Seminary for five summers, Course of Study School, she was ordained a deacon in 1988 and served West Chester UMC for 11 years. During her pastorate at West Chester, she founded and directed a children's choir, the "Rainbow Singers," presenting many musicals during her tenure. While an active pastor, the Rev. Erbe served on district and conference Christian Education and Worship committees. Joan retired in 1993 and returned to her home in Cedar Rapids and was a devoted and loving caretaker of her mother, Dorothy Kippen, until her death in 1998.
From 1996 to 1998, the Rev. Erbe served as co-pastor of the United Methodist churches in Viola and Martelle, Iowa. She was a charter member of New Creation UMC in Cedar Rapids, and a charter and 60-year member of Chapter KK, P.E.O., Cedar Rapids. During this time, Joan was employed as a part-time customer service representative at Westdale Mall. In her retirement, she was involved in officiating at many weddings of friends and neighbors and often presided as an officiant at funeral services. Her Charge Conference membership was with the disbanded New Creation UMC in Cedar Rapids, and had recently moved to Salem UMC, where she sang in the choir. The Rev. Joan enjoyed assisting in church services when asked and other activities within the church.
For Joan, her family was everything. She looked forward to the visits of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and enjoyed watching their many activities. During visits, she often shared her love of music and baking. Next to her family, music and children were her most avid interests. She sang in the adult choir at Trinity UMC for 30 years and for a brief time she taught piano and voice in her home while attending Kirkwood Community College. One of her great joys was keeping in touch with friends from each of the congregations she served as pastor. She was dedicated to serving the Lord Jesus Christ and caring for people who were in need of a friend, a helping hand or kind word. Joan had a generous and kind heart and wanted nothing more than for the happiness of those around her.
Joan is survived by her sons, Brian (Earlene) of Cedar Rapids and Scott of Atlanta, Ga.; grandson, Daniel (Sara and family); granddaughter, Elizabeth (Rich), Lillian, Andrew, Morgan and Taylor; granddaughter, Stephanie (Chad), Caden, Carter, Lincoln, Jackson and Jordan, all of Cedar Rapids; granddaughter, Aimee (Kris), Aiden and Arrington, of Lawrenceville, Ga.; granddaughter, Stacie (Corey), Jesse of Dahlonega, Ga.; and many nieces and nephews with whom she remained close.
Joan was reunited in heaven with her husband, Warren; parents, James and Dorothy; her stepfather, Edmund Kippen; and her son, Jeffrey.
Memorials may be given in her name to any of the churches she served, to Heifer Project International (1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202, www.heifer.org), or Days for Girls International (https://www.daysforgirls.org/).