WHITLEY COUNTY — To know her was to love her, said Sherry Davis Reed about her friend and co-worker Joanna Middleton.

Joanna (Mahan) Middleton died on August 10, after a hard-fought battle with cancer leaving behind so many friends and family members who loved her dearly.

Middleton graduated from Whitley County High School in 2005, where she played basketball and ran track. She graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 2009 with a degree in elementary education and later obtained numerous professional certificates in education.

Working for the Williamsburg Independent School System, Middleton created many special friendships.

Darrell Woods remembers watching her play basketball against Williamsburg and always thought what a competitor she was, getting a lot done for her size.

“When she came to Williamsburg to teach, I saw the infectious smile and loving heart that went along with that competitive fire,” he said. “If you look at all the pictures on Facebook you can see she could blend well with everyone, from the elementary students to the high students, the first year teachers to the old timers. She was a people person no matter what people you were.”

Sherry Davis Reed loved so much about the young mother and friend. Reed is amazed at Middleton’s enduring strength and resilience.

“I can hear her now,” said Reed. “I’ve gone back through our texts over and over again, still in disbelief that she’s gone. I find myself hanging on to our last conversation.”

Middleton was genuine in every way, truly the epitome of strength and beauty, said Reed.

“I have so many wonderful memories with Jo and blessed to have had her in my life,” added Reed. “I will forever miss sitting in her dining room, hair color up to my elbows...cutting her hair on the porch and laughing until our faces hurt. I will forever miss watching her light up talking about Jake and Addy. She loved being a mom. She loved her life. I will miss laughing at the worst times and continuously making jokes. I will miss the endless memes and inappropriate humor. Jo was funny and witty.”

Like many who loved Middleton, Reed said her heart is shattered. But she was blessed to have been there for her during so many special occasions and these are special memories that will be cherished always.

Visitation will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 13, at the Croley Funeral Home Chapel. Middleton’s funeral will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 14, at the Croley Funeral Home Chapel. She will be laid to rest in the Mahan Family Cemetery on Goldens Creek. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Joanna Mahan Middleton Scholarship Fund at Williamsburg Independent Schools. For information, contact Williamsburg Schools Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Hall at (606) 549-6044, ext. 117.

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