Joanne Field Pankow

joanne pankow
Joanne Field Pankow, of Biltmore Forest departed this life Tuesday, November 10, 2009. She was born in St. Louis, MO, the daughter of John Levi and Eunice Virginia Stearns Field, both native North Carolinians. On both sides of her family, she was descended from distinguished Southern lineages. She and her family came to Marion, NC in 1941. In 1962, she married Kenneth O. Pankow and they moved to Asheville in 1965. In addition to her husband, she is survived by one son, John Field Pankow of Biltmore Forest. Joanne was a graduate of Salem College. She was an accomplished musician and played the piano, harp and pipe organ. She was a teacher for many years and students often spoke of her caring, her humor and her ability not only to teach, but to instill a sense of self respect in her students. After early retirement from teaching, Joanne embarked on a wonderful adventure, a career as a professional actress in films, television and theatre. She performed in more than 60 productions, beginning with a recurring role on the TV series “In The Heat Of The Night” in 1991. She appeared in “Two Soldiers”, which won an Academy Award in 2004. She was a past president of the Memorial Mission Ladies’ Hospital Auxiliary, worked with the youth choir at First Presbyterian Church and attended All Saints Anglican Church. In the past, she performed with a number of different local theatre groups. She was a talented writer, an avid reader and a brilliant conversationalist. In her school yearbook, the inscription under her picture was the quote that begins, “She walks in beauty like the night…” Joanne walked in beauty all her life, offering love and joy to each life she touched. Everyone who knew her loved her and will miss her greatly, but we should take comfort in the thought that she is “Past all pain and tears, past all cares and griefs…over in the Summer Land”. A Requiem Mass will be held at 3:00 PM next Saturday, November 21, 2009 at All Saints Anglican Church in Mills River with the Reverend William J. Martin officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00-9:00 PM this Saturday, November, 14, 2009 at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian. Memorial donations may be made to either All Saints Anglican Church, 15 McDowell Road, Mills River, NC 28759 ( or to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude’s Place, Memphis, TN 38105 (

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  1. Dear Ken, John,
    We were saddened to hear of Joanne’s passing. Last week Judy plannned to call to recall old times. Now it will need to be done later. Joanne was a great conversationalist, with generous humor laced in. We will keep you in mind and prayers.

  2. Mrs. Pankow was my favorite teacher and will be truly missed. My husband Bryan and I were both blessed to have Mrs. Pankow as a teacher, she touched a lot of lives and we are the better for knowing her.

  3. Remember this cheery adage of the well run race learned from our common ancestor. ‘Weep not if thou lovest me well: I am happier than thou.’ God bless you both.

  4. To Mrs.Pankow’s Family:

    Mrs.Pankow was one of a kind. She made people smile with her quick wit and humor. She was always writing and reading poems to me. She wrote the words to T. C. Roberson High School’s fight song.

    Many of the students at TCR will remember her with affection, and I shall remember her in the same way

    Please know that all of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I hope to visit with you folks Saturday night.

    Charles Koontz

  5. I met Joanne while she was one of my patients on 9std in st.jos hospital. She was always the bright spot of my day the more i knew of her son & husband you all became like an added family. It truly broke my heart to see her passing in the paper. My prayers are with the both of you. June, cna

  6. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful and talented lady with all of us. My girls loved her as their Teacher and I loved her talent.

    Judy Turner

  7. I am saddened to hear Mrs. Pankow has passed. She was a wonderful, witty and kind teacher and friend. She was talented in more ways than one – from her words of wisdom to her musical and acting abilities. I will miss receiving a return Christmas card this year and all those in the future. May she rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with the family at such a sad time. Sonya Plemmons Penland former TCR Student

  8. I am sorry to hear of Joanne’s passing. My deepest sympathy to Ken and John. I have fond memories of she and I performing in plays at ACT and going to Wilmington on auditions. Her wit and laughter will be missed. I have all in my prayers.

  9. My heart is heavy to hear of Mrs. Pankow passing. I had the pleasure of being one of her students at TC Roberson. I always looked forward to her class. We never knew what funny story she would have for us. She had such a kind heart and truly cared for her students. Many times I have pointed her out to my son during movies we were watching. It’s exciting to say, ‘That’s Mrs. Pankow…she was one of my favorite teachers’. She was definitely a blessing.

    Your family will be in my prayers.

  10. I extend my sincere condolences on the loss of your beloved wife and mother. I very much enjoyed the times I talked with Mama on the phone, as well as hearing lots about her from you, Johnny. I know that this is a tremendous loss for each of you to bear, and my heart totally goes out to you. God bless Mama, and the two of you, Mr. Pankow and Johnny. The three of you will always remain in my prayers. Love, David

  11. Sorry to hear about your loss Mrs.Pankow will be missed and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I was in her class T.C. and she was a great person.

  12. We were saddened to hear of your Mom’s death. May her enduring love sustain you and your Dad through these grief stricken days.

  13. Joanne was a one of a kind. She had the magic to make you laugh and then cry in the blink of an eye. We are blessed to have ever spent any time with her. You are both are in our thoughts and prayers and we hope to see you at the visitation.

  14. I have always been proud to have been one of her students. She gave us a love of drama and theater, then found her calling.

  15. I was so blessed to have had this wonderful teacher in my life! Little did she know the impact she had on me many times. She was my absolute favorite teacher and so many other students. Many times she would hug her students and never know that her hug made all the difference in the world that day. May God give her family comfort in the days ahead. She will be missed.

  16. Mr. Pankow and John…may God comfort you during this time. Joanne was truly one of the kindest and sweetest individuals that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She was such a wonderful actress and I could always count on getting such wonderful notes from directors and producers from her work. She brought such integrity and devotion to everything thing she did. We will miss her so much…God Bless…

  17. Joanne Pankow was as beautiful, deep, and rich, as our beloved Appalachian Mountains. She will be sorely missed by her family, friends and community. However, the ever stellar, Joanne, will continue to shine, eternally brilliantly, in the hearts and minds of all who had the profound pleasure of knowing and loving her. My heart is with you, John and Kenneth, as we mourn Joanne’s passing and celebrate her life. I am honored to have called Joanne Pankow my friend. Much love, Jerita

  18. My heart and prayers are with you. I am not sure I will be able to make it Saturday, but I certainly will be up to visit you. I love all of you. let me know if I can do anything.

  19. I had the honor for having this great women has a teacher. I have never met anyone so kind hearted and caring. She instilled a great respect in me. She really cared about each and everyone of her students. I remeber the haunted house the spanish club had at her house. I will really miss her.

  20. I am so very sorry for your loss; I was very saddened to hear of Mrs. Pankow’s passing.

    I had the honor to be one of her students at TCR. She was a kind heart; always ever tolerant with a kind word or gesture. Seemingly small things, in many ways, made all the difference in my day. She had a way of motivating her students to let them know they could be better and achieve their aspirations. In many ways, she is still with each and every student that had the privilege to attend her classes by the lessons she taught us about the profound impact of a kind word or gesture.

    May she rest in peace.

  21. John,
    I wanted to write to offer my sincerest condolences at the loss of your mother. Although I hadn’t seen her in many years I will always remember her warm and loving personality. She will always be one of the people I think of fondly from my time at ACDS.


  22. My Dear, Dear Cousin John: I can so appreciate your loss. My heart is with you as you forge on to the next level of your journey. Our family will donate to one of your precious mother’s favorite organizations. Much love from your AZ cousins, Dawn and Family.

  23. Knowing Joanne and teaching John in his sophomore year were wonderful parts of my teaching career. Joanne’s smile, humor, creativity and loving personality touched many of us.

    My sympathy to John and Ken.

  24. What a shock to hear this sad news. My heart just breaks to know that just a few short months ago Joanne was comforting me in the loss of GrandSallie, and now they are rejoicing in heaven together. Joanne had such a presence about her – striking beauty, nobility, grace and so much personality. John, I can only imagine your pain in losing your mother; please know that I am thinking of and praying for you.

  25. I was so sorry to hear of Mrs. Pankow’s passing. My sympathy and prayers go out to the family.

    I was very fortunate to have been in Mrs. Pankow’s class during my time at Roberson, and I look back on those memories very fondly. Mrs. Pankow had a heart of gold, and truly cared about her students. The two of us became good friends during that time, and I still treasure all of our many conversations. She was very talented in so many areas, and we had a lot of similar interests in the arts field.

    It is a shame that as you become an adult and go through your career, marriage, etc. that you so often don’t take the time to check up on people that mean a lot to you from your past. I deeply regret that I had not kept up with Mrs. Pankow, but hopefully it will be a lesson to all of us for the future!

  26. The Hendersonville Little Theatre wishes to extend its love and prayers to the family of Joanne Pankow for their grievous loss. HLT has too lost a theatrical soul with Joanne’s passing as she began her career on our stage. HLT is very proud of her and so pleased that she and her family remembered those moments on our stage. God Bless you.

  27. There are a few people in each of our lives whom we remember as inspirational. Mrs. Pankow was one of those people for me.

    I probably gave her a harder time than just about any of her other students (one guy in particular comes to mind!) but, in spite of the fact that I never stayed in at playtime no matter the dozens that I owed her, by the end of the day she somehow always left with a smile.

    A remarkable woman –

  28. I am so sorry to hear the news about Mrs. Pankow’s passing. If I may borrow the words from Charles in Miami, Mrs. Pankow was a Remarkable Woman and such a caring human being.

    I first met and had Mrs. Pankow as a substitute teacher at Gibbons Hall School in 2nd & 3rd grade. A couple of years later, she was my 5th Grade teacher at Asheville Country Day School. I was very rebellious and pushed her patience most of the time, but she never let me get the best of her and still loved and respected me and all of her students very much. We are all better people for having Mrs. Pankow as our teacher!..especially me!!

    My Prayers and deepest Condolences go out to John, Mr. Pankow and all of the Pankow Family.

    Thank You Mrs. Pankow! God Bless You!

  29. Mrs. Pankow was the teacher that made me look forward to my alarm clock going off in the morning .For over twenty years, she has always been with me in my heart through the years. Everyday at Roberson with Mrs. Pankow was a gift from God. She genunely loved her students. She was very close to my sister, Lyn and a great help to my mother…when she simply needed a hug. No words can express how much she impacted my life. THE BEST TEACHER…Mrs. Pankow thank you for taking the time to care for everyone that you met. I will alway remember you.

  30. I was watching a movie the other night and there she was, my dear Joanne! And so I googled her to find this sad news, a few years too late. It has been a long time since I sat in the TV room with Joanne’s pile of books, John and Ken. She was the first person to read my first book and so supportive of all my crazy ventures. I still remember my time in the cottage with fond memories, as I struggled to write a book that never got published. Life is too short, but I do recall that Joanne used to laugh at funerals. I hope she was laughing somewhere and that your own grief and loss has eased, despite the gap she must have left. hxxx

  31. In the early ’90s, I had the honor and pleasure to meet Joanne and her son John at a casting workshop for Al Onorato in Atlanta. (for John, if you see this – at the time, my married name was Nancy Andosca). Joanne and I hit it off immediately, and Joanne was a scene partner for one of the audition scenes. She was extremely talented, gracious, warm, funny, and a true class act. We bonded instantly, and stayed in touch for several years. A few years later, I moved to New York, life unfolded, and along the way, we lost touch. I have thought of Joanne often over the years, as well as her wonderful husband and son, whom I also came to know.

    The last time I saw Joanne was at an audition in North Carolina. It was serendipity that we were both there at the same time, and it was joyous that we could share a hug. I had my (then) 2 young daughters with me, and I was glad they got to meet.

    Today, Joanne was in my thoughts. I looked online and, sadly, found this site. I have no doubt that Joanne is in full swing in Heaven, entertaining everyone there as she did here. The world was surely a better place for her having been in it.

    My deepest condolences, though belatedly, to Joanne’s family and friends. I was so blessed to have known this great lady.

  32. I attended Roberson from 1980-1984, and I have to say that I remember Mrs. Pankow as a really cool teacher, and a genuinely nice person. She and John taught me how to write computer code, and I’ve never lost my fascination with technology. I had no idea she went on to become an accomplished actress, and I’m so pleasantly surprised to hear this. What an inspiration she was, and will always be. Rest in peace, knowing that you made an impact on my life that I will always treasure.

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