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Joan Martin


1928 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Joan Martin Obituary
Martin, Joan (Bach) "Jo"

Joan Martin, 85, Winneconne, formerly of Fond du Lac, passed away peacefully, with several family members at her side, on Monday, March 10, 2014. Joan was born May 30, 1928, in Beloit, daughter of the late Rose and Merritt Bach.

Jo graduated from Beloit High School where she enjoyed music, singing, playing piano and clarinet in a regular Friday Night Dance Band. She attended the University of Wisconsin where she was a member of the Delta-Delta-Delta Sorority. She cultivated many close friendships which remained meaningful throughout her years.

Jo married Paul R. Martin on June 25, 1949, the "handsome, soft spoken upperclassman" she had first noticed years before at Beloit High School. They went on to make their home in Fond du Lac, where they raised their five children. Jo put her unconditional love and boundless energy into her family while at the same time sharing her commitment to the community; schools, service league, First Presbyterian Church, and the Association for Retarded Children, now the ARC. She was creative, together with a handful of other parents of special needs children, in starting a summer program for disabled youth, during a time when such programs were not the norm. Both Jo and Paul continued their advocacy, researching and inspiring meaningful programs for adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities.

For many years Jo was a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, an organization of Christian women that supports women's education.

Music played an important role throughout Jo's entire life; it was a gift she shared with everyone around her right up to her last week of life. From an early age she loved to sing, she studied piano and clarinet, and later added the violin and viola. She accompanied children's school and church programs while nurturing each of her own children's musical gifts as well.

Jo also nurtured her friendships, with many of them enduring to date. She was enormously genuine and a delight to be around. She found the good in every thing and everyone around her. Her smiling spirit was boundless, as was her faith and trust in God and her fellow man.

Jo and Paul, who preceded her in death, retired to Door County where they remained for nearly 20 years, choosing the place they had most taken the kids camping during the early years. They spent many an afternoon exploring the nooks and crannies, the sunsets and the peaceful beaches of Peninsula State Park. They loved to have the kids and grandkids visit, enjoying and sharing everything Door County had to offer; music, the arts, relaxation, good food and lots of time to read, or explore whatever sounded good on any given day.

Both Jo and Paul were avid listeners and supporters of Wisconsin Public Radio. Staying on top of the news and listening to classical music throughout the afternoons, often wove into the fabric of their days.

Jo is survived by: her five children: Annie Leonard, Richard Martin, Debbie (Jeff) Sexton, Nancy (Read) Johnson, and David (Pam) Martin; grand and great grandchildren; Amy Grant and Alex, Paul (Margaret) Leonard, Emily (Cory) Dahl and Cohen, Sarah (Mike) O'Brien and Kaden, Colin (Kristina) Johnson, Scotia (Chad) Sexton, and Clair (Christian) Sexton; and her three nieces: Judi, Jeanne, and Louise.

A private celebration of the lives of both Paul and Jo will take place in summer in Door County with family. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers memorials be made in Jo's memory to Wisconsin Public Radio, P.E.O., or ASPIRO, the Green Bay Facility for Disabled Adults, where her son Richard has worked and been an active participant for over 43 years.

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Published in Appleton Post-Crescent on Mar. 23, 2014
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