Anderson, JoAnn Brennan
JoAnn Brennan Anderson died unexpectedly on Thursday April 11, 2013 after a long illness. She was born June 29, 1950 in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of Eugene "Big Jim" Brennan and Isabel Kasbaum Brennan. JoAnn attended St.Mary's Elementary School in Clark's Mills and graduated from Valders High School in 1968. After high school she earned a marketing degree from Lakeshore Technical College before pursuing a career in the profession she had dreamed of from the time she was a young girl. She earned a teaching degree and teaching certification from Manitowoc County Teachers College. After graduation JoAnn worked for one year as a special education teacher's aide in the New Holstein Public Schools. For several years she taught multi-grade classes at the same Clark's Mills school that she had attended as a child. During this time she also worked at many part time jobs, completed her Bachelor's degree at Silver Lake College, started a small retail business, and added additional graduate credits and teaching certifications from the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. She also met and married her husband and best friend for over 40 years. She earned degrees and certifications in elementary education, primary education, Reading teacher, and minors in arts and humanities. In 1986 she was hired again by the New Holstein Public Schools after a series of both short term and long term substitute teaching positions in Manitowoc, Kiel, Chilton, Valders, and New Holstein, as well as teaching medical homebound and at risk students. A list of organizations and committees that JoAnn was the leader of, member of, or simply showed up for as an anonymous volunteer would fill a page. The theme, however, was always the same. JoAnn looked for ways to help others have a better life. Whether it was in the schools or the community, with her friends, or with her family, wherever JoAnn went joy and enthusiasm followed. During her career she served as a mentor, leader, and role model to many other teachers. She was a student and parent favorite who won awards that included a Kohl Fellowship Award and multiple nominations to Who's Who Among American Educators. She was contacted by many former students long after they became adults and had careers and families of their own. It was her favorite award of all.
JoAnn enjoyed building, decorating, gardening, landscaping, photography, travel, and, most of all, family, friends, and people. She had an ability to walk up to strangers in all of the 50 states and several foreign countries she had visited and would have them talking about their life stories and families within minutes of having met her. Caring for the environment and caring for her students were at the top of her priority list.
In 1974 JoAnn married David Anderson who survives her along with their son Dustin Anderson and his wife Shelby Eckerman and granddaughters Eloise and Signe, son Garret Anderson and partner Rayna Pitz, daughter HaLeigh Jo Anderson and her fiancé Seth Zipperer. Additional survivors include sisters Eileen Mleziva (Harvey), Bonita Brennan, Sue Rudin, Carol Gauger (Will), Laurie Wegforth (Tom), Maureen Lehman (Dennis), and brother William Brennan. Many nieces, nephews, cousins, and their children are also survivors. Special friends Marion and Joel Marquardt also survive. JoAnn's family would like to thank all of the professional and personal friends who have had the privilege of knowing her and have, in turn, added so much joy and meaning to our lives and hers.
Published in Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter on Apr. 18, 2013