Farewell My Friend
And Thanks For Everything!
By Jack Coll
I was saddened to hear that Joni McCormick passed away on December 18. She was somewhat of a ground-breaking female in Conshohocken.
I can’t tell you the first time I met Joni, but I’m sure that a smile was on her face and her hand was extended out offering a warm greeting. If I remember correctly I was a young newspaper photographer, maybe 28 or 29 years old. Nor can I remember the last time I saw Joni, but I’m sure she had a smile on her face sitting in her wheelchair and I’m sure her hand was extended offering a warm welcome, I was always comfortable around Joni, and she always said something that made me laugh.
Coming out of the 1960’s in Conshohocken the borough had a mountain of clubs, organizations, government committees, private clubs and groups, and nearly all of them sported a board of directors mostly made up of males.
In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s females started to play a more prominent role in directing a number of these organizations and Joni was out front. For nearly a half a century the Borough of Conshohocken Authority Board of Directors was male dominated. Joni was appointed in the 1980’s and later became the Vice-Chair where she became a solid influence on all major decisions.
As Manager of Employee Benefits for Quaker Chemical for nearly 30 years Joni would often serve as the un-official public spokes-person for Quaker attending many of the community functions as a company representative. Joni would often present checks on behalf of the company to numerous organizations from the Colonial Neighborhood Council to the Conshohocken Library and many organizations in-between. It was on many of these occasions that Joni and I would rub elbows and spend time together.
Joni was funny, smart and always carried the conversation. In-time we became good friends, we understood each other and came to respect each other’s value to the community. She later became President of the “Mother’s Guild” at St. Mary’s Church and was also a President of the prominent “Conshohocken Business & Professional Women’s Organization” where she was awarded “Woman of the Year” back in the mid 1990’s. For the awards presented to her over the years I was there for nearly all of them taking her picture for the Conshohocken Recorder Newspaper.
Joni was a member of the Conshohocken-Plymouth-Whitemarsh Rotary, as was I and she also served the community as a Board Member of the Conshohocken Economic Development Committee and was a proud and vocal supporter as a Board Member of the Colonial Neighborhood Council.
Over the years we attended lunches and dinners including the West Conshohocken Merry Makers, Historical Society dinners and events, Fellowship House events and other benefits and would often chat.
I remember being a young man when I met Joni, and she was like this veteran of borough affairs, I learned a lot from Joni over the years. Once again I’m disappointed at myself for not taking the time to thank someone who was a positive influence in life, Joni was one of them. I visited her a number of times when she worked at United Methodist Church and now I look back thinking I could’ve taken a minute and thanked her for all she had done for me over the years.
I vow as of this moment that from now-on I will thank people who have been positive in my life, thanking them for their kindness and knowledge and I’ll start with Joni, it’s a little late but I know Joni wouldn’t mind, that’s just the way she was. So Thanks Joni, thanks for everything, it’s been a great pleasure to have served this community with you my friend.
Perhaps we’ll chat again in the after-life where you’ll start the conversation off as you always did, “Hello my friend,” I miss hearing that.