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JoAnn Knoxville

Many children begin life under “challenging” circumstances. Then, there’s Life Bridges inspiration, JoAnn Knoxville. You see, JoAnn started her life as an abandoned baby left on the doorsteps of a children’s home in Knoxville, Tennessee when she was only a few months old. We’re not sure of her exact birthdate in 1929. She was given the surname, Knoxville, because that was the city where she was found and the starting point of her amazing story.

JoAnn lived at the Knoxville children’s home for six years, until February 22, 1936. She had been diagnosed with an intellectual disability meaning that she would need special care for the remainder of her life. She was admitted to the Cloverbottom School and Hospital which was one of Tennessee’s top three institutions for mental health at the time.

In December of 1961 JoAnn was transferred to Green Valley Developmental Center when she was approximately 32 years old.

JoAnn became a resident of one of Life Bridges first group homes in December of 1978. She was about 45 years old at the time according to Life Bridges Director of Human Resources, Tammy McSpadden.

City of Cleveland

February 22, 2019
JoAnn Knoxville Day

During the first 40 years of JoAnn’s life, deinstitutionalization was occurring, reducing the population of patients in mental-health facilities across the nation. Fortunately for JoAnn Knoxville, she was able to receive the care she needed during this volatile time.

The staff at Life Bridges characterize JoAnn Knoxville as being “smart as a tack” due to her sharp memory and her fleet mobility around the facility. She enjoys reading magazines, assembling puzzles and socializing with people. “It doesn’t matter if she knows you or not, because if she went into a room where she didn’t know anyone, she would interact with you and give you a hug,” according to Kelli Wilkey, Life Bridges Purchasing Coordinator.

Knoxville is currently living in a Life Bridges supported-living residence which houses two or three individuals. There are 40 supported-living homes in the Life Bridges residential services network. Residents receive 24/7 care with supporting staff on hand at all times.

As the oldest client at Life Bridges, JoAnn Knoxville is one of our favorite “Inspirations”. She is in good health and loving every minute of her life. Her favorite color is purple, and she was overjoyed to learn of the day devoted to her in honor of her 90th birthday by the City of Cleveland.

“We’re so glad to get to celebrate this incredibly special woman’s birthday and life,” Dianna Jackson added.

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