Jan. 25, 1930 - Nov. 11, 2020

Joanna Bell Thompson, of Atlanta, Texas, died, Wednesday, November 11, 2020. She was 90.

Joanna was born January 26, 1930, in Prescott, Arkansas, to Joe A. and Ruth Benton Bell.

The family moved to Gurdon, Arkansas, when she was one, then to Little Rock, when she was four. She graduated from Little Rock High School, later known as Little Rock Central High, in 1947. While there, she performed in the prestigious Little Rock High School A Cappella Choir.

Graduating Ouachita Baptist University in 1951 with a major in English, Joanna then attended Baylor University, where she earned her master’s degree in English, with an emphasis on English Literature. She taught one year of High School English in Corning, Arkansas, before marrying Charles Thompson on August 10, 1953. The young couple moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where Charles served as Judge Advocate for the Sioux City Air Force Base.

While there, Joanna taught at the high school in Sargent Bluff, Iowa, a suburb of Sioux City. They moved to Atlanta in 1955, where Charles set up a practice of law. Later, Joanna taught 9th and 11th grade English at Atlanta High School.

Joanna was a member of First Baptist Church of Atlanta and the Lydia Sunday School Class. For many years, she was the teacher of the College and Careers Sunday School Class.

She enjoyed traveling, and made many trips abroad. She also enjoyed playing bridge, reading, and following Baylor sports teams, especially her beloved Lady Bears basketball team.

Joanna is survived by one daughter, Lee Thompson Mays of Atlanta; her son and daughter-in-law, Joel and Jane Thompson of Houston; seven grandchildren, Dana Joanna Mays of Dallas, Allie Thompson Sauls, Kirk Thompson, Cole Thompson, Jordan Robuck, Madison Herington, and Savanah Herington, all of Houston, as well a one great granddaughter, Elliot Sauls of Houston.

She was preceded in death by her parents; Charles, her husband of 59 years; sister, Raynal Bell Barber of Dallas; and son-in-law, Jeff W. Mays of Atlanta.

Guest registry is available at

Cass County Now

306 West Main St
Atlanta, TX 75551