A piece of the sun shines here now because it no longer shines on earth.  It was extinguished in the early morning hours of August 20, 1999 and she will live on in the hearts of the family, friends, and a community that knew and loved her.

            She was the dazzle in Joanie�s Dazzling Design, a beauty salon in a tiny shop square in Belle, West Virginia.  She was always there, from early in the morning to late into the night.  It was not unusual for her to have a customer at 2 AM as she was always willing to stay for those who couldn�t make it in during the day. Anyone that called to see if she had a free moment would hear, �Sure, just come on in.  You may have to wait a bit, but I�ll work you in.�  That was Joanie.  Always a bright smile and a personality to match, she cared about people and made you feel like you had known her all your life even if it was the first time you had met. 

            It�s hard to reconcile that one of the same people she cared for and �adopted� would be the same one who took her life.  It�s hard to conceive that anyone would want to do her harm.  And, it�s hard to imagine not having her here at all.

            Even if Joanie had known the young man she took under her wing and mothered would one day carry out this tragic deed, her actions would have been no different.  She would have still continued to let him visit at the salon, help her clean up at night and taken him to dinner at Taco Bell.  Even when there was talk in the community that he was the same one who had stolen her car last winter, she did not press charges.  That was Joanie.  She believed there was good in everyone, even the troubled eighteen year old who shot her multiple times with a high powered rifle from the roof of her salon.

            Signs and posters taped to the salon windows made references to �our missing angel� and �our Princess Diana�.   The latter sentiment spoke volumes.  For yes even though Joanie would be the last to compare herself to Diana, she exhibited the same compassion and love for people in our small community that Diana showed to the world.  Somehow, that all seems to add a sense of perspective to the senseless way Joanie was taken from us and gives us hope that her light, like Diana�s, will always shine.