obit WachtellJoy Ann Marie Baumeister Wachtell passed away on January 11, 2022 after a 12-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was born on a farm in Deloge, Missouri, on May 5, 1932. A year after that her parents, Clara and Joseph Baumeister moved to Fulton, Missouri, where they founded and operated a German bakery for more than 30 years. When still in high school, she met her future husband, George, while working the cash register in that bakery. Fulton is the small Missouri town made famous by Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech which Joy Ann witnessed live in 1946. The speech remains considered seminal in shaping world history after WWII. Her graduation speaker in 1952 at William Woods College in Fulton was Ronald Reagan, president of the Screen Actors Guild at the time. She went on to graduate from the University of Missouri with a degree in Home Economics in 1954. She settled and raised her children, Douglas, Karen, Patricia, Theodore, and Robert in Pleasantville, NY, and passed away in the same house she moved into in 1960. She worked on occasion as a substitute teacher in Armonk, NY, in the Byram Hills public school system that her children attended; however, most of her working time was spent being a tireless mom to her five children. In her later years Joy was a friendly face often seen visiting her friends around the villages of Pleasantville, Armonk, and Chappaqua, NY.

All through her adult life she enjoyed spending much of her holiday/vacation time in Montauk, NY, and Waitsfield, VT, sharing her effortless Missouri Valley smile, love and happiness with family and lifelong friends. As a Midwesterner she did not learn to ski until she was in her late 20s but learned to ski well enough at that age to help teach her five children to learn to ski, sometimes bringing all of them to Stowe and the then Glen Ellen ski areas by herself. After a day of skiing and against her hard-working husband Georges wishes, she would sometimes sneak her five children off to lobster dinners in the town of Waitsfield, while George was hard at work back in New York during tax season in February. 

She was an extraordinary mother, and she will be missed by all, whether they were fortunate enough to ever know her or not know her. 

She is predeceased by her husband George and survived by five children and eight grandchildren.

At the family's request, please make donations, in lieu of flowers, to support dementia research at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. To make an online gift, please go to

For those who want to make their gift by check, please make payable to the Trustees of Columbia University and indicate Noble Dementia Research Fund/IMO Joy Wachtell on the memo line. Mail the check to:

Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Office of Development, Attn: Matt Reals, 516 West 168th Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10032.