We lost a shining star for Jesus on this earth when Jo Anne went to glory,--- I was so sad to read of her passing. When I think of JoAnne I think of smiles, of hers and the children she taught and interacted with at Cross of Life. I think of the Christmas program when she was directing my daughter in her part as an angel. I remember how she would take on VBS with such enthusiasm and hard work. JoAnne, you certainly fulfilled your calling as a teacher on earth, I know you will shine and sparkle for the Lord in glory. I wish your family deep peace and comfort at this time. Because He Loves, Judy Kozar
Jo Ann was one of our favorite people at Cross of Life/Unity Lutheran. She was never without a smile on her face and her friendly spirit was infectious. Brian has many fun memories of time spent with her on the East Coast Road Trips. She will be missed by many including Brian and I. Rest in Peace Jo Ann. Our sincere condolences to her loved ones.
Sue & Brian Kammers
I will always remember Jo Ann’s smile and welcoming behavior. No matter how busy she was she always had a kind word and showed genuine interest in what you had to say. She remembered names like no one else I’ve known. She will be missed beyond what words can express. Our sympathies to her entire family and to Pete. From Laura and Scott Strehlow
I went to high school and college with Jo Ann and we also worked at Camp Tekawitha together. She was Mrs. Claus and I was Santa during Christmas in July at camp. We lived together for awhile in EauClaire. She stood up in my wedding. I am shocked and saddened to hear of her death. She had an exuberance larger than life. She was filled with joy. She brought life to every gathering. She was an amazing woman and I know she will be deeply missed by all of you. Jo Ann holds a very special place in my heart. She helped make me who I am today. She was a great friend and companion on the journey of my life.
Jo Ann how we love you! Your kindness, your love of children, your friendliness, your smile, your creative flair, your energy, all of this we will miss so much. You welcomed our whole family in when we joined church way back in 1999. We will miss seeing you at church and around. Till we meet again, enjoy heaven
All our love,
Kathy and Bernd Bruhnke
Peace of mind is a call away. We’re here when you need us most.
I traveled with JoAnn three times to El Salvador. The love she bestowed on the children we encountered in our travels was magical to see. She was also a wonderful travel companion. Although I only met her in the context of our trips, she always expressed delight in seeing me again. She extended such warmth to all those around her. I know her family will feel her loss keenly. I extend my profound condolences to them.
Jo had the WORST poker face.... she was such a big goofy kid herself that she could never hide her excitement! She was always in the middle of whatever was going on, and seemed to thrive on chaos (and about 2 hours of sleep). Her smile and joie de vivre made everyone want to join in with whatever she was doing, and yet, she made you feel like YOU were the special one. She was truly a gift to all of us, and our world will be a little duller (and quieter) without her in it. Jo touched so many, and will be missed in so many ways.
I remember Jo Ann as a fabulous educator, co-worker and friend. I have fond memories of VBS and Christmas programs we worked on together. I’ll miss her passion for life…the way she always saw the best in everything, her smile, her strength, her love for the kids and parents at COL/Unity, and most of all, her love for each of you. I feel privileged to have worked with her and to have called her friend. She was a gift to the world, and I’ll think of her every time I hear a VBS song. God's comfort and peace to all of you.
My Mother once said, “When people wear a smile it doesn’t mean their life is perfect, rather it shows their keen appreciation for Gods many blessings.” That might help explain the persistence of Jo Anne’s beautiful smile. We will never forget that wonderful smile and perhaps we can find at least some comfort, in knowing the likely meaning behind it.
The world and especially Unity Lutheran has lost a special person who was loved by children and their parents for 35 years. A Children's Message with her was pure joy. Thank you JoAnn for all you did to teach our children about God's love and by living that every day. We are all better by having known you. To Claire, Stefan and Ryan and families, keep her in your heart every day.
My condolences to the Hein Family on the death of Jo Ann. Please know that you will all be in my thoughts and prayers. May the Grace of God be with you at this time of great sadness.
God Bless, Your former De Pere neighbor, "Chef J.R."
I'm so sad to hear of Jo Ann's death. She was always a light in the life of family. Her smile was contagious. Her spiritual energy has touch so many. She will be greatly missed.
Dana john Tom and Vanessa Vaughan
I was so sad to hear this news about JoAnn. She was a friend from high school. There was a small group of us DePere girls from St Joe’s Academy that hung out together throughout our years there. Although we went our separate ways after high school I have fond memories of the fun we had and who could forget that smile. My prayers are with her family, children and grandchildren..
When I needed an extraordinary teacher to develop youth education and youth ministry at Cross of Life Lutheran in 1990, Joanne agreed to be that shining star, and over the decades she has touched the lives of countless children and youth, with her grace, her love and her laughter. My thought are with her family, and her church family. Well done good and faithful servant!
I am going to miss my sweet cousin with whom I connected in our autumn years. Our two-hour phone conversations gabbing about how proud we both were of our adult children and sharing stories of our cherished "grands" as loving grandmothers do. My sincere condolences to my dear Aunt Lee and Uncle Bill and to Jo's children, Claire, Ryan, and Stefan in whom she took such pride.
JoAnn was a “Joyful Noise”. She was a gifted teacher and mentor whose passion was sharing the “Good News”. When you spoke to her she listened for understanding. When she spoke to you she was engaged, intentional and personal mixed in with a good dose of humor and that gorgeous smile that lit up every space around her like the sun. She was gracious and humble. A person of prayer, who was filled with the love of God and made a lifetime commitment to serve Him. “Mrs. Tomm” helped to educate all three of our kids. She was there for their communions and their confirmations. Her Stefan and our Matt were roommates at UW - Eau Claire. Losing this amazing human being is the kind of loss that leaves a hole in one’s heart – in JoAnn’s case – thousands of hearts. Her legacy lives in 35 years’ worth of children who passed through the doors to the education wing and the parents that brought them to church. Our deepest condolences to Claire, Stefan, Ryan, your families and friends. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers asking Him to wrap you in his loving arms and provide you with comfort and peace. Just like your mom would have.
Jo Ann embodied joy - joy for her work, for her family, for everyone she encountered. What a deep loss for so many of us who grieve her passing. Prayers for peace for all of Jo Ann's loved ones, her Unity family, and all she leaves behind.
Pastor Josh Evans
(Unity Lutheran Church, 2018-2020)
Jo Ann was blessed to be a blessing to all of us. We will miss her so much. Her influence will continue on through everyone she has touched.
She always had time for everyone regardless of age. Some of our kids best childhood memories had Her as a part of them.
Please accept our deepest condolences for your family's loss.