Betty Joann Charles, 74

April 03, 2021

Betty Joann Charles journeyed to our Lord on April 3, 2021 at the age of 74.

Joann is preceded in death by her parents Elizabeth and J. Norman Charles, brother J. Kenny Charles and nephew Michael Reddig.

Joann is survived by her daughter Sandy (Lacerda) Zeigler and husband Jonathan of Harleysville, PA and their two children Alexandra and Skilar; and her daughter Sylvia Lacerda and husband Mark Frisbie of Lawn, PA.

Joann is also survived by her siblings and their families: brother Jim Charles and wife Charlotte of Columbia, PA, brother John Charles and wife Sharon of Lititz, PA, brother Marvin Charles and wife Ginny of Lancaster, PA, brother Mervin Charles and wife Laurel of Millersville, PA, sister Janete Weaver of Hurlock, MD, and sister Ivete Chamberlain and husband Fred of Laurel Springs, NJ.

Joann was born in Lancaster, PA. Her parents farmed land that is now Crossgates Golf Course in Millersville, PA. She attended Manor Mennonite, a two room school. Going into her teenage years, the family moved to Brazil as missionaries. They moved several times eventually living on a coffee farm in the state of Paraná, where they blended farming partnerships with pastoral ministry. In Brazil, Joann and her siblings attended school and participated in church events. We invite you to read “Heaven on Earth, Family Style” by J. Norman Charles and Sharon Charles which chronicles their mission work in Brazil.

In 1978, Joann and her family moved back to the United States to assist her parents Norman and Betty Charles in the early years of Abundant Living Ministries (“ALM”). In addition to providing loving care of her Grandma Wenger, she took great joy in serving as ALM’s counselor for children.

In 1987, Joann and her family moved to Juazeiro do Norte, CE, Brazil as missionaries, and collaborated in starting the Cristo Vive Church that is still thriving today. In 1996, Joann opened “Everyday English”, a school dedicated to English as a second language. For 19 years she taught English to adults and children. The school moved several times, finally landing at a 2-story building on Avenida Pref. Carlos Cruz. Her school was on the first floor and she lived on the second floor. We invite you to browse the Everyday English FB page:

Joann was a strict teacher, intent on ensuring that her students were fluent in English by the time they successfully completed the four year course. But students soon learned that the stern teacher had a heart of gold. Her students became her second family. Joann would often send pictures to her daughters on Mother’s Day and her birthday showcasing the many tokens of affection given by current and former students. In addition to teaching classes, Joann organized several group trips enabling her students to visit the United States to put their English skills to use. Joann’s family visited her as often as they could and shared many special memories on these trips. During her time in Brazil, Grace Chapel Church supported Joann as a missionary and she participated in their Mission Conferences when stateside.

In 2015, Joann moved to Lawn, Pennsylvania to be close to family. Joann loved completing Sudoku puzzles, anything the color blue, and caring for plants. Her grandchildren were very important to Joann. She enjoyed New Year’s Eve celebrations with granddaughter Alex and sleepovers with grandson Skilar. Joann was proud of her students and continued corresponding with them after leaving Brazil. Her Brazilian friends remained a large part of her life, especially Pedro who she considered an adopted son. She spent a lot of time watching birds, squirrels and deer out her windows. She was blessed to live near some of her childhood friends who all celebrated their 70th birthday together and formed the “Golden Girls Club”. But first and foremost, Joann cherished her time back in Pennsylvania because it was full of long talks and good food (gluten-free please!) with family and friends.

A private service will be held at the convenience of the family.

In lieu of flowers, please send contributions in Joann’s name to Grace Chapel Church (2535 Colebrook Rd, Elizabethtown, PA 17022; link –, or to Abundant Living Ministries (link –

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Condolences to the Family

April 10, 2021

Praying that God’s love gives you the peace that you need during this time.
Joyce Kreiser

April 09, 2021

Sempre terei lembrança de muito amor e carinho por tia Joana. Magnífica! Que Deus traga consolo aos nossos corações.

April 08, 2021

Love and Prayers to Joann’s family🌹
Dear Joann! How many book reports I had to rewrite because you wanted to help me improve my written skills? How many times you made me pronounce a word because I mispelled It? How many times you asked me to teach your classes because you trusted me? Lots of memories came into my mind about your example of being a teacher, of course you had your strict way of teaching but that did not cancel your kindness of helping so many people.  Thanks for everything 😔🙏
Ana Paula Gonçalves

April 08, 2021

Dear Sandy and Sylvia, I am so sorry for your loss. I have so many great memorries  of your mom as a teacher, a boss and a friend. Joann is part of my life story and for tha I am so greatful. She will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the whole family. God bless.
Ivoneide Goncalves-Ray

April 08, 2021

Thoughts and Prayers for you and your family Sandy! If you need anything please let me know!
Donna Collins

April 08, 2021

Meus sentimentos a Família.  Dona Joann Charles, foi minha vizinha na Rua Delmiro Gouveia, e professora.  Saudades … Deus conforte a Familia. Ana. 

April 08, 2021

I have many wonderful memories of Joann. I spent a few months in Brazil and loved visiting Joann and her family. Joann had a big impact on my life and I will be forever grateful that she was my friend and sister in the Lord. 
Kim Gerlach

April 08, 2021

Sending love, sympathy and prayers for your comfort on Joann’s death.
I was touched reading some of the comments by her former students. They loved and respected her so much.  I didn’t know about the trips to the US for them to use their English skills.  What an amazing idea. I can’t help but picture Aunt Betty and Uncle Norm and Aunt Shirley welcoming her into heaven. What excitement there must have been!!  And what a reunion we will all have some day. 
Elaine Todd

April 08, 2021

Joann! It is so hard to believe you are not anymore among us. But, deep downn within me, I feel your soul close to me. That is what makes me remain your friend even in Paradise.
Aglezio de Brito

April 08, 2021

Sandy, Jonathan, Alex, Skylar and family- sorry for the loss of your mother and grandmother.  May she Rest In Peace
Maria van der Kleut

April 08, 2021

First of all, a tender hug on everyone of the close family. It’s a different momento but my heart joys that I was able to get to know Joann, and more, learning so many things, about English and America cultures, tips, talking, etc. There is a special song that it will always remider me of her: “I can’t stop loving you by Ray Charles”. (once she has taken the students to figure the lyrics of this song just by listening, it was awesome!)
Afonso Henrique Anastácio Calábria

April 08, 2021

A primeira professora de inglês a gente nunca esquece! Obrigado Joann, você iniciou em mim um processo de mudança de pensamento. Que o Pai Celeste te guarde em um lugar justo para teu descanso 
Danuzyo de Carvalho

April 08, 2021

Joann was such a great influence in my life. I spent about a year volunteering at her school in Brazil and I saw first hand the love she had for her students and their love for her.  She is missed by many around the globe and has influenced more than we know. My love to her family, especially her daughters and grandchildren whom
she loved greatly.
Maggie Honeyford Santos

April 08, 2021

I have quite a few memories of Joann. What an example of faithfulness to God and the calling on her life! So many lives were touched in her practical everyday style. Hugs and love from the Gill Family. We know what this loss feels like, but also the blessed hope of a joyful eternity together.
Beverly K Gill

April 08, 2021

Dear Teacher Joann!
Deus te receba de braços aberto minha querida! Você é uma pessoa maravilhosa, marcou minha vida pra sempre! Miss You!!!♥️
Ingrid Lira

April 08, 2021

I’m so thankful I met professor Joann Charles. She changed my life, gave me the opportunity to learn English, American culture and pray stories. I love her pray stories! She was the first person to explain me the real meaning of Thanksgiving Day. She told me about Squanto. I have many Joann’s lessons in my mind and in my heart. She is unforgettable. And I pray God someday I can see her again and tell her how much I love her and how much I appreciate what she did for her students. I miss you. We your students in Brazil miss you so much!Paulo

April 07, 2021

Sad to hear of your loss, my dear friend she was!!! A true woman of God, who was a great mentor to me!  She was such a great listener!!  It was an honor from God to have known her!! God bless your family and I pray Gods peace and comfort to your family!!
Mervine Hess

April 07, 2021

Our love and prayers go out to Joann’s daughters, Sandy and Sylvia and their families as well to her siblings and family. I always felt close to Joann and will miss her greatly. Would love to have one more good talk with her but I know she is with Jesus and loved ones who have gone before. I love you Joann.
Irene Clark

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