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100 Branchview Drive NE
PO Box 344
Concord, NC 28025
Phone: 704-786-3168
Fax: 704-782-5766
About An Amazing Life|Help

Joan Marie
Kester (Wilson)

April 6, 1933 – November 27, 2018

Joan Kester Joan Kester Joan Kester
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Memorial Candles Lit for Joan | SEE ALL
"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
— Wilkinson Funeral Home

Obituary for Joan Marie Kester (Wilson)

Mrs. Joan Marie Wilson Kester, 85, left this earth for her heavenly home November 27, 2018. She was surrounded by those she dearly loved as she died peacefully at her home in Concord, NC.

Joan was born April 6, 1933 in Charlotte, NC, to the late William Jesse Wilson and Hal Latta Wise Wilson, though she was raised by her aunt, the late Margaret Evelyn Wilson, who loved Joan dearly as her own. Joan was preceded in death by a daughter, Robin Kester Sutherland and by a brother William C Wilson.
Joan was a 1951 graduate of Harding High School in Charlotte, NC. She worked in banking and enjoyed a career in modeling before she married Mel Kester, moved to Concord NC and raised a family. She was an owner/operator of the Concord gift shop “Kester Three”, later worked in sales at Robinson’s and then at the Concord Regional Chamber of Commerce. She loved working with people!

Our mom had a vibrant, youthful personality which attracted people young and old. She most loved being a mother; heart and soul, nothing brought her more joy than feeding a houseful of children and friends. Activities or travels as a family almost always included many more than the six of us. Our parents gave us a wonderfully happy and loving home, anchored in faith and surrounded by family and friends. Our family beach trips are the most precious memories.

Mom and her sister-in-law, Jackie, were best friends for nearly 70 years. They loved cooking, gardening and traveling, particularly to the ocean. They had a lifetime of adventures, many to their beloved Charleston, SC. One year mom and Jackie created clay pots with beautifully hand painted wooden tulips and leaves and loaded up their wares to sell in the trade market in Charleston. They made enough money to pay for their entire trip and “ate like queens”! They were so pleased with themselves.

There are too many to thank individually for our mom’s senior healthcare, but we want to mention Dr Roycroft, Dr Condrey, Dr Chow, Beth O’Brien, Northeast Orthopedics, OrthoCarolina, pharmacist Bill Harris, Dr Ozment, Dr Schmidt and Northeast Medical Center. There are many more we to whom owe much gratitude, not mentioned here, but you are so appreciated! And we cannot put into words how thankful we are for Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County. This organization is truly staffed by angels.

Joan is survived by her children Melanie Canup (Scott) of Mt Pleasant NC, Eric Kester of Roanoke VA, Paige Gesing (wife of the late Bernard Gesing) of Charlotte NC, Alexander Ruehlen, (girlfriend Rachel Heisler) is a grandson she raised as her own, also grandchildren Ashley Hanson (Laura), of Kannapolis NC, Allison Peadon (Don, children Isabella and Gillan) of Huntersville, NC, Rebecca Ruehlen, Nyal Ruehlen (partner Kelly and great granddaughter Rebecca) and Eric Ruehlen, all of Concord NC. Joan is also survived by a brother, Robert Wilson, of Charlotte NC. She is loved by many extended family members who are dear to us all. She loved seeing cousins Nancy, Clair and Emily when they could arrange it!

Having shared all of that, here is what matters most: Love wins.

Our mom lived and taught and shared that message with so many, certainly more than we even know. She saw the best in people. One of her lifelong sayings was “The people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.” If you were one of her best friends, don’t be offended. I am sure she was not talking about you! (Sorry. Her sense of humor is in our DNA.) When we questioned her emotional decisions that defied logic, the result always proved she was right. Love wins indeed. She saw the silver lining, the glass half full and the promise of a new day. She was not born into a charmed life. In fact, that seemed against all odds at her birth. But God blessed her with her aunt Margaret, who gave her faith, love and wings to fly. And, wow, did she pay that forward. She had no enemies and forgave those who caused her pain. She was “another mother” to our friends, helped strangers in need, loved the lonely and made people laugh at every turn. Her unrivaled precious wit and sense of humor survived divorce, the loss of her best friend and even the loss of a child. She was called “a sage” by one who knew her best. She fought rheumatoid arthritis for many years yet, on the painful days, she still found joy in as little as a good cup of S & D coffee and a tough crossword puzzle. When life gave her lemons, she turned them into a mystical, magical concoction infused with faith and hope, and nourished all of us with it. But to us, the luckiest ones of all, she was MOM. We will miss her soft touch, her healing hugs, her advice and her steadfast love. Her often noticed eyes were the bright blue of a shimmering ocean. But that precious, tiny soul had the heart of a lion. She was a rock of faith, perseverance and eternal optimism. Our mission is to pay this amazing gift forward for the rest of our lives. Mom, we thank you and we love you and will miss you forever! Until we are all together again, rest easy and enjoy the boundless glory of heaven. You left us here on earth to carry on but, thanks to you, we’ve got this!

Memorials may be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County (5003 Hospice Lane, Kannapolis NC 28081) or to the Cabarrus County Animal Shelter (244 Betsy Carpenter Pl SW, Concord NC 28025) or to the charity of your choice in Joan’s memory.

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