Nature 14

Jo Anne Buchanan

March 21, 1938 ~ October 11, 2021 (age 83)

Obituary

     Jo Anne Buchanan of Le Claire, Iowa, died October 11, 2021, at the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf after suffering a stroke four weeks prior.

     Jo Anne was born on March 21, 1938, in Aurora, Illinois to parents Frank and Helen (Thayer) Witchousky. She grew up in Aurora, Illinois surrounded by a large, loving family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and her dear brother Francis (Peter). As a child, Jo Anne enjoyed babysitting her cousins, reading, and writing. 

     After completing high school, Jo Anne briefly worked as a secretary at Lyon Medal Company. Her life changed forever when she met, and eventually married, Donald Eugene Buchanan on May 29, 1965. After briefly living in Oswego, Illinois, the couple moved to Le Claire, Iowa in 1973 where they made the home for the remainder of their lives. Jo Anne and Don had two children, Jorie Anne and Jeffrey Alan, who they adored to no end. Jo Anne’s family was everything to her and she made endless sacrifices for the good of her family, always putting their needs ahead of her own. She was the consummate mother, doing all the things that mothers do - arranging appointments and playdates, sitting through sporting events, running errands, cooking meals, cheering on her children and their friends, keeping an immaculate house - with love, patience and without complaint. 

     Jo Anne was a gregarious, caring, and thoughtful person who loved to talk and laugh. She had many friends and diligently kept in touch with them throughout her life. In fact, it seems as if she saved every letter and card she ever received. She enjoyed bowling with friends, collecting postage stamps from around the world, and watching murder mystery shows. She was creative and skilled at knitting, crocheting and cross stitching, and her home was filled with many of her creations. She was a voracious reader who could finish a book in a day, recall the details of each book she’d ever read, and kept a running list of the books she hoped to read. As her children grew older, she turned her love of reading into a career at the Le Claire Public Library which allowed her to stay connected with her community, make new friends, and pass her love of reading onto children. Jo Anne was a devout Catholic and a long-time member of Our Lady of the River Catholic Church in Le Claire. She was enormously proud of her little brother, Peter, who is a Dominican priest, and the siblings enjoyed keeping in touch with one another even though distance separated them. 

     After retiring, she and Don spent time gardening, reading, and traveling. They eventually welcomed the arrival of new family members, none more important than her two grandchildren Emelia Ellen and Benjamin James. Jo Anne treasured (and spoiled) her grandkids and was always eager to hear what they were up to next as she shared with them her latest baked goods. They were her favorite topic of conversation and near the end of her life it was her kids and grandkids that still could spark a smile and a wink from her even though the stroke took most of her ability to speak. 

     Always the caregiver, Jo Anne lovingly cared for Don until his death in April 2020 which was just a month shy of their 55th wedding anniversary. She will be deeply missed and affectionately remembered by her family including daughter Jorie and son-in-law Kirk Carson of Davenport, Iowa; son Jeffrey, daughter-in-law Jennifer, granddaughter Emelia, and grandson Benjamin Buchanan, all of Good Thunder, Minnesota; and brother Peter Witchousky of Springfield, Illinois.

     Words cannot adequately describe the appreciation that Jo Anne’s family has for the caring staff of the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House in Bettendorf who helped Jo Anne leave this world with dignity, comfort, and peace with her family by her side during the last days of her life. 

     In lieu of flowers, memorials in Jo Anne’s name can be made to the Le Claire Public Library.

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