Associate Broker RetiredLife-long Cherokean, Joan Ballantyne has been a mainstay in the Cherokee business scene for the past 69 years. Joan has been working since she was in high school and has always been ambitious. She was heavily involved in school activities to the point where her parents felt they were spending too much time away from the farm running her into town to participate. They told her she needed to cut back, but she refused and suggested she stay with a friend of the family for the remainder of her senior year so she could attend the functions and practices. She began her working career in 1949 to help pay for her rent and living expenses.
Joan’s dream at that time was to become an air stewardess when she graduated but her dreams were dashed when she found she was too tall and was a couple of pounds over the limit for airline requirements. In 1952, Joan landed a job at Miller Mac Insurance. She did such a good job for them that in 1964 she was offered to become a partner of the business, which she did, and she then became one of three owners. After that she worked for the Bell firm and the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce.
Joan has been outstanding in her field, always extending her education while taking 20 or more classes, more than the required amount needed to maintain a realtor’s license. By doing this, she sharpened her skills.
She has also been very active in the community. She was a choir director for 49 years and still sings with the choir to this day. She also served on the hospital board (Sioux Valley) for 12 years, was an ecumenical instructor for 15 years, and served on the Western Iowa Tech Board and the Chamber Board, where she has been a member since 1956.
Joan became active in politics representing the real estate community. It was during this time she got to meet both President George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
Other awards and honors she has received include President of the Cherokee Industrial Corporation in 1986; President of Kiwanis for 2000-2001. Fifteen years on the Ecumenical Institute where she held the office of President; Iowa Hall of Fame as a volunteer in 1989, Women in Excellence in 2000; United Counties Board of Realtors from 1977-1978 (she has been a member since 1961 to 2014); Women’s Council of Realtors President in 1981; Western Iowa Tech Community College Foundation Fund Raising Co-chairman from 1993-1994; Meritorious Service Award Realtors Federal Political Coordinator in 2011; Distinguish Service Award Nation wide in 2000; Graduate of the Realtor Institute of Iowa in 1970; Life Member Award Member of Political Committee in 1993; O.G. “Bill” Powell Award for Meritorious Service to the industry in 1992; Woman of the Year for Iowa Realtors in 1982; Realtor of the Year for Iowa Realtors in 1982; Realtor of the Year of Iowa in 1983; RPAC Hall of Fame in 2016; U.S. Bowling Congress for 25 years for National Bowling Participation 2006; Citizen of the Year for Cherokee in 1993; and 33 years on the Cherokee PRCA Rodeo Committee.
When asked what she found most rewarding about her long career, Joan said, “I get a wonderful feeling helping a family find their next home. It makes you want to come to work everyday.”
Joan, 86, will be retiring after decades of service to her profession and community. When asked what she planned on doing after her retirement she answered, “I will be catching up with old friends I have not seen in awhile and do lots of traveling. I am looking forward to just enjoying my life of retirement.”
An Open House in Joan’s honor will be held on February 15 at the Gathering Place, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Come join Joan and celebrate her life-time commitment to her profession and her service to the community.