GLENDALE, Ariz. - JoAnne Gonzalez Janicki passed away peacefully on July 17, 2013, in Arizona, where she spent 31 years of her life. She was 83.
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JoAnne was born Sept. 6, 1929, in Montpelier, Vt., the daughter of Spanish emigrant Jose Gonzalez and Eleanor Paige. JoAnne earned an undergraduate degree in education and a master's in special education from Arizona State University. She married three times: In 1950 she wed Jack Holland, and they brought Jo Carol and Kevin into the world; in 1968 she wed Frank Champion, and they brought Charles Gregory into the world; then in 1980, she found her soul mate, World War II vet Walter Janicki.
As a single mom, in the 1950s and 1960s, she worked two jobs and went to college while raising two children. Taking direction from her mentors, she went back to school in the 1970s and got a master's in special education. JoAnne taught in multiple schools within the Arizona Department of Education, ranging from first grade to high school. In the 1980s, she was a specialized teacher in the San Diego Unified School District, teaching blind and deaf students. In the 1990s, she and Walter retired to St. George, Utah, where she took up politics, painting and blackjack in Mesquite, Nev.
JoAnne was an avid traveler, skier and cyclist. She loved her dogs, books and shopping at Nordstrom. An incredible wife, teacher, mother, grandmother and loyal friend, she left an indelible impression on all those who came into her life. JoAnne's unwavering faith in people, positive vibration, and perseverance made her an example to anyone she met. JoAnne was truly one of a kind.
She is survived by her children, JC Adams, Kevin Holland and Gregg Champion and his wife, Jennifer; her brother, Father Charles G. Gonzalez S.J.; her grandchildren, James Adams and his wife, Missy, Eric Henkel, and Elysse and Annabelle Champion; and her great-grandchildren, Isabella and Jake Adams.
A memorial service is on Friday, July 26, 2013, at 1 p.m. at Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic Church in La Jolla, Calif., with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations in JoAnne's memory can be made to The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at http://events.teamholeinthewall.org/2013communityevents/joannegonzalezjanicki.
Published in Times Argus on July 24, 2013