Iowa City

Joan “Joey” W. Summerwill, 99, passed away peacefully July 31, 2020, at Oaknoll Retirement Residence. She was two months away from reaching her 100th birthday.
Strong, smart, cheerful, independent and organized, Joey was quietly committed to serving her community and church through volunteer activities and financial support. She enjoyed playing golf, following Hawkeye basketball and football and being with family.
A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 10, at Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City with the Rev. Sam Massey officiating. A concert to celebrate Joey’s life will be held at a future date at First Presbyterian Church. Masks and social distancing are required at the graveside service in order to protect the health of self and others.
Joey was born Sept. 30, 1920, in Keosauqua, Iowa. She graduated from Keosauqua High School, where she played girls 6-on-6 basketball. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce/business from the University of Iowa. On June 13, 1942, she married Ben E. Summerwill in a military wedding at Camp Wheeler, Macon, Ga.
During the years Ben served in the Army during World War II, Joey, and their son, Ben Jr., spent time between Keosauqua and Iowa City living with both of their families. When Ben returned from service, Ben and Joey remained in Iowa City, where he joined Iowa State Bank & Trust Co. The couple had two more children, daughters Kristin and Suzanne.
Joey and Ben loved to dance and participated in dance clubs until Ben’s death in 1991. Joey liked to travel and enjoyed trips with family and friends, especially “out West” to California and Idaho and to Florida, Britain and a rustic resort in Minnesota. She was a good golfer with at least one hole-in-one.
Joey was active in Pi Beta Phi sorority, N.N. Book Club, the Hoover Foundation and was an 81-year member of P.E.O. (a philanthropic educational organization for women.) Joey guided the organization of Chapter KQ in Iowa City and was a chapter officer.
She began volunteering with the Mercy Hospital Guild in the late 1960s and was co-founder of the Mercy Gift Shop. She recorded 11,314 volunteer hours from June 4, 1979, to Sept. 28, 2015, which was her last day. Joey believed strongly in the mission of Mercy and established the “Joey Summerwill Hospice Fund” at Mercy Foundation to help those in need at the end of life.
Joey was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Iowa City. She loved the J.S. Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, which often was played after services. She appreciated music and established the “Joan Summerwill Handbell Ministry Fund for First Presbyterian Church” to support the handbell choir.
Joey is survived by her three children, Ben Summerwill Jr. and daughter-in-law, Lora Summerwill, (Cedar Rapids), Kristin Summerwill (Iowa City), Suzanne Summerwill and son-in-law, James Flitz, (Coralville); four grandchildren, Mike Summerwill and wife, Amanda, (Cedar Rapids), Kate Summerwill and husband, Michael Bergman, (Atlanta, Ga.), Graham Flitz (Berkeley, Calif.) and Evan Flitz (Claremont, Calif.); two great-grandchildren, Tyler Summerwill and Brady Summerwill; and six nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband; her parents, Stanley M. and Edna Irish Workman; sister and brother-in-law, Nanette and Calvin Graham; and son-in-law, Wayne Rohlfs.
The family wishes to thank the compassionate staff at Oaknoll for their care of Joey.
To carry on Joey’s legacy of giving, instead of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Joey Summerwill Hospice Fund at the Mercy Foundation, the Joan Summerwill Handbell Ministry Fund at the Community Foundation of Johnson County, the Women’s Basketball Development Fund at the University of Iowa Center for Advancement or the Oaknoll Foundation.
Arrangements are with Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service, Iowa City, where online condolences may be sent to the family at

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