82, died peacefully in her sleep on March 21, 2013 in the home of her daughter in Traverse City, Michigan.
She was born Delores JoAnn Peterson on December 16, 1930 to Clarence Ivan and Edna Elizabeth (Thornburg) Peterson in Perry, Iowa. Raised in Iowa and Illinois where JoAnn's life passion for ballet dance was formed and developed. She performed at The Palmer House in Chicago, then with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo touring the United States and Canada.
JoAnn married Californian Thomas J. Warner with whom she had two daughters, Denise Warner Draeger and Dana Warner Logan. It was in Pomona, California that she began to teach classical ballet. She later established Concert Dance Theater through her dance studio, JoAnn Warner Dance Arts, where she trained and influenced hundreds of families in the area over several decades. During these years, she shared a long and happy marriage with Robert C. Leimbach (now deceased).
Concert Dance Theater, the performing outlet for her dancers as well as for JoAnn's choreography, was member of the Pacific Regional Ballet Association since 1975. JoAnn Warner coordinated two separate Pacific Regional Festivals and several annual Craft of Choreography Conferences during the 1970's and 1980's in Claremont, California. JoAnn (W. Leimbach) is listed in Who's Who of American Women, Tenth Edition (1977-1978). Dozens of her students continued into professional dance careers as performers or as teachers themselves of the love of dance.
JoAnn's creativity continued into her retirement as she painted, sculpted and fused glass & metal into works of art. By those closest to her, she is remembered and admired for her courage, her determined spirit and for her kindness, particularly towards her beloved dogs and stray cats. Memorial contributions may be directed to your local Animal Humane Society.
She is survived by her loving daughters, by Fred E. Baumgartner, her companion of many years and by relatives in Iowa, Michigan and Rhode Island.
Memorial Services will be held April 21, 2013 at Pilgrim Congregational Church on Garey Avenue in Pomona, California at 2:00p.m. Reception to follow will be at the church. All who knew, studied with and loved JoAnn are welcome to attend.
Published in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Apr. 2, 2013