Joan "Jody" Buckelew
JOAN “JODY” BUCKELEW, born August 20, 1926 in Canton, Ohio passed away on February 6, 2018 at her home in Howell Twp., NJ with her family who loved her more than words could ever say at her side.
At age 18, Jody left Canton to pursue her passion for dance. She became a dancer with the Manhattan Rockets and toured all over the country. There she met and performed with such stars as Bob Hope, Donald O’Connor, Mickey Rooney, Anne Miller and Sammy Davis, Jr. just to mention a few. She studied ballet at the American School of Ballet in New York City with George Balanchine. Jody also took dance classes from Gene Kelly.
After all that, Jody decided to audition at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for both the Ballet Corp and the Rockettes. She was accepted into both and chose to be a Rockette, which she enjoyed for 5 years, 1950-1955. As a Rockette, she met and performed with many more celebrities.
Jody met and married Mr. Carl Yalden and together they had twin sons, Geoffrey Yalden and Mark Yalden, and later a daughter, Leslie Yalden. The family eventually moved to Jackson Twp. Being widowed in 1966, and with the help of her church family, the First Presbyterian Church of Lakewood, she opened Jody’s School of Dance in Jackson Twp. There she taught dance and touched many lives and generations of families that went to her school. She became “Miss Jody” to all her students and their families who loved and admired her still to this day.
Jody remained very active with the Rockette Alumi. She served on the board as recording secretary and danced with the Rockette Alumi kick-line called the “Breathless Twelve”. They danced annually at the Rockette Alumi Charity Ball and all proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition, Jody remained extremely active with the dance studio and directed the annual recitals.
She remarried on September 1, 1971 to Mr. Paul Buckelew of Lakewood Twp. They were married for 29 years until his passing on October 4, 2001.
The dance studio closed in 2003 and Jody went to work for a survey company in Brick Twp. which eventually moved to Eatontown.
Jody moved to Howell Twp. in 2005 to live with her daughter, son-in-law and grandson. She was a loving, caring and sweet mother and grandmother and spent her retirement being a part of a loving family who adored her.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Dawn Yalden; her daughter and son-in-law, Leslie and Charley Horner; her grandchildren, Heather Buffington, Ryan Yalden, Doug Horner, Carl Yalden, Olivia Yalden; and by her great grandchildren, Kiernan Brohm and Evie Brohm.
Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend her memorial service on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 1:00 PM at The First Presbyterian Church of Lakewood, 313 Third St. and Clifton Ave., Lakewood Twp., NJ.
If so desired, memorial contributions may be made in Jody’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-1942 and would be greatly appreciated. The George S. Hassler Funeral Home in Jackson Twp. is in charge of arrangements. For directions, further information and to send the family a condolence message, please select a tab on the left.