Beckett-Brown & Hodges Funeral Home
Joan Elise Sledge
(September 13, 1956 - March 10, 2017)
Joan Elise Sledge was born in Philadelphia, PA on September 13, 1956. She was the daughter of actress Florez Kathy Sledge and Broadway tap dancer, Edwin Edgar Sledge and the middle sister of Carol, Debra, Kim and Kathy. Joan, affectionately known as Joni, wore numerous hats; she was an adoring mother, powerhouse singer, intelligent entrepreneur, avid business woman, a remarkable writer, beautiful actress, creative visionary, passionate producer, talented oil painter, graceful swimmer, enthusiastic cook, and loyal friend. The moment Joni was born, God gifted the world with a brilliant and bright creative force. Her passion for the arts and academics was unmatched. She had an extremely advanced IQ and sailed through school. Her brilliance and work ethic afforded her nothing less than straight A’s. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Temple University. Some of her favorite extracurricular activities included playing tennis at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Camp, participating in theater, and mastering foreign languages. As a sophomore attending Temple she produced and directed her first sold out production “WildFlower”. After graduating from Temple University, she traveled the world extensively and sang on numerous stages. She lived in Paris, France briefly and attended Sorbonne University. She fully immersed herself in Parisian art and culture and mastered the French language. Afterwards, Joni moved to Marina del Ray, California. She loved spending time on the beach, basking in the warm glow of the sun, she frequently hiked mountains and made sure to stay fit, she was a health-nut to her core! Joni married Thaddeus E. Whyte, III and relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona where she gave birth to her only child, Thaddeus Everett Whyte, IV. Her son was the light of her life and joy of her world. She measured the birth of Thaddeus as a divine gift from God. Her eyes beamed with joy as she spoke of him and his many talents. She loved having him by her side as she traveled the world. He was the center of her universe. Joni was a philanthropist, she passionately stood against inequality, gender and racial discrimination, and often used her stardom to bring light to lesser known causes. Joni touched millions of lives with her radiance, brilliance, and selflessness. “Never Give Up!” she would say, in the spirit of “Flo”. With Joni’s encouragement, many hearts were motivated, molded and changed. Joni continues to be an inspiration to all. She loved to sing with her sisters, and just as Sister Sledge’s Grammy award winning hit “We Are Family” became a worldwide mantra for steadfast love, she will be remembered for her unwavering love: love of family, love of friends, and love of life. We know she is with the Lord Jesus Christ, still shining brightly and full of pure Agape love. Joni’s legacy will continue to be an unstoppable force of pure passion and love.