Joan A. Murphy, 70

Joan A. Murphy, 70, Brandon, died Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, at her home, following a lengthy battle with cancer.

 Funeral services were held  Friday, Dec. 30,  at Brandon Baptist Church.  Interment followed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Sioux Falls. 

Joan Allon Kerslake was born in Sioux Falls on March 31, 1952, to John and Vivenne (Munson) Kerslake. She grew up in Sioux Falls where she was involved in Central Baptist Church and attended Mark Twain and Patrick Henry public schools, graduating from Lincoln High School in 1970. She also attended and graduated from Augustana College, where she was involved in the athletic department.

She began her career as a physical education and health teacher at Axtell Park, and also worked at the YMCA, an athletic trainer, and was a racquet ball pro at Woodlake Racquet Club. She then moved on to the Sioux Falls Gymnastics Club where she was head coach and business manager.

Joan married Dan Murphy in 1980. She worked as head gymnastics coach at Brandon Valley High School and raised her son, Matthew, retiring from coaching in 1994. She enjoyed racquet ball, swimming, travel, reading, biking, going out with friends, working with kids, and being part of various Bible studies. She loved Jesus, church, her family, and her friends.

Joan loved to volunteer, especially with kids and in church, and touched many lives while involved with Girls Club, VBS, Sunday School, AWANA (serving as the Commander for many years at BV Baptist Church), various church ministry teams. Joan was someone who people found easy to talk to and was a good listener. She put those skills to work as a Dawson McAllister Hopeline Counselor, Billy Graham Crusade Counselor, MOPS and Teen MOPS Mentor, and she mentored several girls the Brandon Valley School District over the years. She also worked as a Red Cross Health & Safety instructor, chiropractic assistant, as well as tutoring several great kids. A few years ago, Joan welcomed Maddie, one of the girls she had been tutoring, into her home for several months. Joan also had a heart for those were serving or had served in the military and enjoyed being involved with Warrior 180. She especially enjoyed handing out stars and listening to the stories of the soldiers she met both locally and while traveling.

Joan had a deep Christian faith. She was deeply involved in church ministry. She was part of many Bible Studies, small groups, and prayer ministries.  Recently, she was thrilled to be a part of Central Church’s frontline prayer ministry on Saturday evenings. Many of her friends described her as the greatest prayer warrior they knew. Her deepest desire would be that each and every one of you would put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. After many years of fighting cancer, Joan was taken into the arms of her Heavenly Father, passing peacefully in her sleep on Dec. 26, 2022.

Joan is survived by her son, Matthew Murphy; brother, Wayne Kerslake; sister-in-law, Patty Hollenbeck; nephews and nieces, Shawn (Mardee) Hollenbeck, Jay (Jody) Hollenbeck, and Christopher (Jessica) Kerslake, and Katie (Andy) Abernethy; grandnieces and grandnephews, Brandi (Ethan) McDowell, Jaydn (JD) Kirwan, Blaire Hollenbeck, Aluxyn Hollenbeck, Anna Abernethy, Elise Kerslake, Bethany Abernethy, Sammy Kerslake, and Ollie Abernethy.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband, Dan; her parents, John and Vivenne (Munson) Kerslake; grandparents, Ed and Jenny Munson, and William and Rose Parent; mother-in-law Margaret Koos and father-in-law Al Koos; sister-in-law, Gayle Kerslake; and nephew, Andrew Kerslake.

 Full obit at

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