Cover photo for Joann Barbara Van Maanen's Obituary
Joann Barbara Van Maanen Profile Photo
1936 Joann 2024

Joann Barbara Van Maanen

October 20, 1936 — April 18, 2024

Rock Valley, Iowa

Jo Van Maanen 

 

Joann "Jo" Van Maanen, 87, of Rock Valley, Iowa, died Thursday, April 18, 2024, at RiverView Ridge in Rock Valley. A prayer service will be held Tuesday, April 23, at 6:00 PM at Porter Funeral Home of Rock Valley with Chris Van Beek officiating. There will be a time to greet the family following the service. A summer celebration of life is being planned. In the meantime, in a testament to Jo’s love for the great outdoors, her family requests that memorials be directed to the Rock Valley Parks Fund, where her legacy will live on.


Joann Barbara Miller was born in Hudson, South Dakota to wonderful parents, Albert and Adeline Miller. She was the sixth of seven children, so it was no surprise that from the day she was born on October 20, 1936, to the day she died on April 18, 2024, time spent with family meant more than anything to Jo.  

 

She also loved spending time outside, basking in the sun, and being out in nature. Her early days were spent on the family farm, walking to and from her one-room country school, or even all the way to town. She claimed that her brother Roger (Speed) once “saved her life” on one of those walks when a sudden blizzard hit. Speed gave Jo his coat to wear and she never forgot the kindness. They remained close throughout Jo’s life.   

 

Her younger sister Mary also held a special place in Jo’s heart. As the two youngest siblings and just one year apart in age, they often were allowed to play while others worked the farm, leading Mary to become her lifelong confidante and dearest friend, inseparable in both laughter and sometimes tears. They were so close that when Jo attended country school, Mary walked with her every day. After three weeks, the teacher allowed Mary to stay and sit with Jo for most of that first year.  

 

Jo graduated as Valedictorian of Hudson High School’s Class of 1954 and went on to attend Augustana College where she earned her teaching degree. But her family wasn’t far away even then. Mary was with her the night in 1955 when Jo met her future husband at the Firemen’s Dance in Hawarden, Iowa. Bill Van Maanen of Rock Valley asked her to dance, and Jo began to envision a new family, this time with the love of her life. They were married in 1957. The couple shared a love of nature walks, hiking (including to the bottom of the Grand Canyon), golfing, camping, and many, many car trips. New Mexico was a favorite destination. In later years those trips included their grandchildren who they took around the country. Bill and Jo also made many trips to Europe, including Holland and Germany where they explored their family heritage.  

 

Jo was ahead of her time in many respects. After teaching elementary school for a few years, she opened her own Pre-School in her Rock Valley home. She followed that by serving for more than two decades as the Chief Financial Officer for Hegg Memorial Hospital Avera. A successful career didn’t stop her from being a nurturing mother to her children, planning many family activities, and even sewing most of her daughter’s childhood clothing. 

 

Jo was an early advocate for women in sports, despite the absence of the opportunity to play during her own high school years. Her golf game was strong with family members witnessing many chip-ins and tournament wins. In her later years, Jo loved watching sports on TV, frequently winning family football pools. This year she was gratified to see women’s sports garnering so much recognition.   

 

Jo is already missed by her children, Todd (Michelle) Van Maanen of Yankton, South Dakota; Jody (Kevin) Kallsen of New Braunfels, Texas; and Tom (Peggy) Van Maanen of Rock Valley, Iowa. She also is survived by her brother Roger (Linda) Miller, brothers-in-law Larry (Nancy) Hylarides and Jerry Jensen, and sister-in-law Rose (Bobby) Theodoredis. Jo was a constant presence and doting grandmother to seven grandchildren: Danielle (Bjorn), Erin (Bill), Tyler (Roxy), Jacob, Jesse, Kylie, and William, as well as eight great-grandchildren. Preceding her in death were her parents and siblings Harvey, Hilda, Howard, Doris, and Mary. 

 

A summer celebration of life is being planned. In the meantime, in a testament to Jo’s love for the great outdoors, her family requests that memorials be directed to the Rock Valley Parks Fund, where her legacy will live on.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joann Barbara Van Maanen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Prayer Service

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Starts at 6:00 pm (Central time)

Porter Funeral Home - Rock Valley

1704 15th St, Rock Valley, IA 51247

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation with the family

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Starts at 6:30 pm (Central time)

Porter Funeral Home - Rock Valley

1704 15th St, Rock Valley, IA 51247

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

Visits: 3444

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Plant A Tree

Plant A Tree