Cover photo for Johanna "Jo" Vander Schaaf's Obituary
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1931 Johanna "Jo" 2024

Johanna "Jo" Vander Schaaf

August 23, 1931 — May 8, 2024

Rock Valley, Iowa

Rock Valley, IA: Johanna (Jo) Vander Schaaf, 92, of Rock Valley, IA, went to her heavenly home on May 8, 2024, at the Dougherty Hospice House in Sioux Falls, SD. A funeral service will be held Friday, May 17, at 11:00 AM at the First Christian Reformed Church of Rock Valley with Rev. Matthew Haan officiating. The service will be livestreamed at Burial will follow at Valley View Cemetery of Rock Valley. Visitation, with the family present, will be held Thursday, May 16, from 5:30-7:00 PM at First CRC.


   In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Dougherty Hospice House, 4509 Prince of Peace Place, Sioux Falls, SD 57117 or a ministry of your choosing. Porter Funeral Home of Rock Valley has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements for Mrs. Vander Schaaf. 


   Johanna (Jo) Vander Schaaf was born on a farm near Hawarden, IA, on August 23, 1931, to William and Gertrude Van Zanten. She graduated from Western Christian High School at age 16.


   Jo married Stuart Duane Vander Schaaf on March 6, 1950, in Rock Valley, IA. She often remarked that she certainly made good on her promise at their wedding: “Whither thou goest, I will go.” During their 58 years together, Jo and Duane lived in nine states. Their son was born while Duane was stationed with the Army in Albuquerque, NM, and their daughter was born in Bellflower, CA, a few years after Duane began driving for Greyhound Bus Lines. Duane’s job brought them back to Iowa and to North Dakota, Nebraska, and several other points west. After retiring, Jo and Duane spent winters in Arizona. Jo enjoyed seeing so much of the country, meeting people from all over, and making friends and memories during a life that reflected the saying “Home is where the heart is."


   Over the years, Jo was employed in various jobs, including as a bank teller and hardware store clerk in Rock Valley and as a waitress in Fargo, ND; Denver, CO; and Omaha, NE. To relax, she enjoyed working crossword puzzles, completing jigsaw puzzles, and playing cards and word games. She was a particularly formidable though friendly opponent at Scrabble and Words With Friends. Jo loved laughing and reminiscing, spending time with friends, and simply being with her family. Although few family members lived near her, all were just a call, text, or FaceTime away, and she made the most of those connections.


   Jo leaves a legacy of Christian love. She was a longtime member of First Christian Reformed Church of Rock Valley, participating in women’s Bible studies and service groups. She prayed without ceasing for her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends and didn’t hesitate to talk about her faith.


   Jo is survived by her two children, Doug (Bernita) of Sioux Falls and Rachelle (Richard) Laliberte of Macungie, PA; five grandchildren (Andrea Rainbow, Katrin Johnson, Anthony Vander Schaaf, Jordan Laliberte, and Marissa Simonian); and nine great-grandchildren (Dorothy, Iris, and James Rainbow; Tatum, Tanner, and Cooper Johnson; Abram and Juniper Vander Schaaf; and Daniel Nakamori Laliberte). She is also survived by her two brothers, William Van Zanten and Gerald Van Zanten, as well as many cousins, nephews, and nieces.


   Jo was preceded in death by her husband, Duane; her parents; and her sister, Bertha Roozeboom.

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Jo Vander Schaaf Memorial Folder.pdf

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, May 16, 2024

5:30 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

First Christian Reformed Church

1401 16th St, Rock Valley, IA 51247

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

Funeral Service

Friday, May 17, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

First Christian Reformed Church

1401 16th St, Rock Valley, IA 51247

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


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