Beloved philanthropist Joann Bashinsky passes away


Alabama philanthropist Joann Bashinsky passed away Monday. The heiress to the Golden Flake fortune was 89 years old. Bashinsky, known to many as “Mama B”, was a beloved giver to the community, and even just recently established a new scholarship fund at Miles College. According to the Birmingham Times, the $168,000 scholarship will provide three four-year scholarships to students who don’t have the financial means to attend college. She’s also been a supporter of causes such as Big Oak Ranch.

However, Mrs. Bashinsky has been in headlines recently for a legal battle against the Jefferson County probate system. The probate court took control of her assets and affairs after probate court judge Alan King decided she needed a court-appointed guardian for her estate.  The Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of Bashinsky, freeing her from the court-ordered contested conservatorship. 

Landon Ash, Bashinsky’s grandson released a statement about his grandmother’s passing. 

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my grandmother, Joann Bashinsky yesterday, January 3, 2021. She was best known as Mama B or Mrs. B, a nickname she was given as her legend grew for her generosity through her philanthropic work throughout the state of Alabama,” he stated.

“My grandmother was a champion for those in need for decades and her passing will be felt by countless people whose lives were touched by her kindness and incredible compassion for humanity. Most of all, this loss will be felt by my family and me. Nonny was my champion as well, and I loved her dearly for the guidance and direction she gave me throughout my life. While Mrs. B was in excellent health, both physically and mentally, for someone 89 years old, she was brought to the hospital Saturday and passed away there yesterday from complications of a heart attack.”

In regards to the recent court battle, Ash commented, “Mrs. B found herself under unfortunate circumstances as she spent the past 18 months battling a court-appointed guardianship that continued up until the moment of her passing. She said she was going to ‘fight them till the bitter end’ and that is exactly what she did. Her compassion for those who find themselves in similar circumstances will be felt long after her passing and her work as an advocate for them is far from over.”

“Words can’t describe my sorrow for my grandmother’s passing, though I take comfort in knowing she was one of Alabama’s finest women to ever live and that she is now with the rest of her family in heaven, he concluded. “I feel blessed to have the solemn duty to carry on her legacy and continued service to others as she taught me to do so well.”

Miles College President Bobbie Knight stated, “The Miles College community is deeply saddened and mourns the loss of Mrs. Joann Bashinsky. Mrs. Bashinsky and I grew close over the past few months after she established an endowed scholarship fund at Miles College. It was during this time I learned she believed that finances should not be a barrier to any student seeking higher education. Mrs. Bashinsky exemplified a passion for improving young people’s lives in our community, and her legacy will live here through the students she has touched.” 

The family asks that contributions be made out to Big Oak Ranch and Miles College in lieu of flowers.