Joan Lyles Maher, ’73 - Parish Ministry
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Joan has enjoyed many personal and professional highpoints since those days at IWA when she and her friends would spend hours rehearsing and performing the school musicals. She not only sang in the chorus but was the accompanist for all the solo performances. She remembers one day when she fell down the steps of the Chapel building right before a big performance. When a friend of hers who was her co-accompanist heard the news, she ran out of the cafeteria and saw Joan sitting on the steps. "Thank goodness it's only your foot,” her very sympathetic friend said. Joan sprained her ankle and spent the evening of the musical on crutches – but good naturedly accompanying the soloists anyway. Following her years at Incarnate, Joan earned her degree in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her vocation in parish ministry began long before she realized that it would be a major influence in her life. As a child at Ascension School in Normandy, she was instructed by one of her teachers to "go over to the church and play the organ for choir practice.” When Joan explained she didn't know how to play the organ, the teacher said she was sure that Joan did. When the pastor heard her playing, he asked her if she was interested in studying the organ and she said yes. That was the beginning of more than 35 years of service through music to various parishes throughout St. Louis. After playing at Ascension and St. Jerome parishes for a number of years, Joan became Director of Music at St. Joachim and Ann parish for 12 years. From there, she served as Director of Worship at St. Blaise (now Holy Spirit) parish, where she continues serving the people of God through liturgical music. Along the way, Joan earned a Certificate in Church Music Ministry from the Kenrick Center for Church Music, and she has served on the executive board of the Duchesne Branch of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians for the last 18 years. She has also served as Director, Program Planning Chair and Assistant Director of that organization, as well as being a member of the Archdiocesan Music Commission. Stephen, her husband, and Joan have been married for 35 years and have two sons, Tim and Matt, a daughter Mary, and a daughter-in-law Theresa. Matt and Theresa are the proud parents of Joan and Stephen's adorable grandson Danny. Their daughter Mary is part of the Incarnate family, serving as the current Director of Annual Giving and Database Research.