Floral 20
Official Obituary of

Jo Ann Parsons

May 1, 1927 ~ February 13, 2024 (age 96) 96 Years Old

Jo Ann Parsons Obituary

Jo Ann Parsons, 96, passed away peacefully surrounded by her children on February 13, 2024 in Bloomington, IL after a brief illness.

Services are 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 19 at Vandemore Funeral Home, Geneseo with Pastor Dan Seibert officiating. Burial is in Oakwood Cemetery, Geneseo. Visitation will precede the funeral from 9:00-11:00. The funeral service will be livestreamed at www.vandemorefuneralhome.com/live-stream.  In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Hammond-Henry Hospital Foundation or the P.E.O. Foundation (a philanthropic organization whose mission is to support women’s education.) To celebrate Jo, the family requests that you wear yellow, her favorite color, or something bright and cheery!

Jo Ann Walz was born on May 1, 1927 in Pueblo, CO, the daughter of Edith (O’Neil) and Claude Walz. She married James C. Parsons August 16, 1952 in Rock Island.

Jo was raised on a cattle ranch in Vineland, CO. Her father invented a sugar beet harvester and sold the patent to John Deere which brought the Walz family to Rock Island in 1944, Jo’s junior year of high school.  Jo graduated from Rock Island High School in 1945 and went on to graduate from Augustana College in 1949 with a degree in Sociology and Psychology.

Upon college graduation, Jo moved to Denver, CO where she was a case worker in public welfare and a professional Girl Scouts promoting scouting to kids and families. After marrying Jim, Jo continued to work for the Girl Scouts in Chicago, providing financial support as Jim finished medical school.  After Jim returned from service in the Korean War, the Parsons Family moved to Geneseo in October of 1957. Here they established a foundation on which they raised a family, lead community focused lives, and developed many cherished friendships.

Leaving her professional social work career behind, Jo created a career of volunteerism in Geneseo.  Always a social worker, her organizations of choice focused on improving her community and the lives of others. She was a charter member, past president and board member of the Hammond Henry Hospital Auxiliary; board member for both the local and Iowa-Illinois Association for Children with Learning Disabilities; past president of the Henry County Medical Auxiliary; and a Friendly Town Project project chair for four years, which matched at-risk kids from Chicago with Geneseo families for one week each summer.  Jo was a 75-year member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, holding both local and state offices, and continued her passion for scouting by serving as a local Cub Scout den mother and Girl Scout volunteer. 

Providing her leadership to support community efforts, Jo served on the board of Growth Inc. Day Care School; as a co-chair of the library fund drive; Administrative Board and Council of Ministries Chair for the First United Methodist Church; and the Development Council President of the Hammond Henry Foundation.

Jo enjoyed golf, even celebrating a hole-in-one; and she was a seamstress, dressing herself and her daughters for years, making their wedding dresses and opening JP’s Fabrics in downtown Geneseo in the 1980’s. Jo was happy to travel wherever Jim wanted to go including golf trips to Great Britain, cruises to the Panama Canal, the Mediterranean, and the canals of England on a long boat. Summer family vacations to Door County provided many wonderful memories of time together.

Jo’s spirit of generosity towards others was evident to the end. The steady stream of Luther Oaks staff and caregivers, past and present, who came to bid her farewell in her final days were a testament to her commitment to treat everyone with love and kindness.

Survivors include children Jan (John) McShane, Dekalb,IL; Julie Dunbar, Bloomington, IL; Jim (Cheryl) Parsons, Bradenton, FL; Jennifer (John) Huffman, Bloomington, IL; granddaughters Jenna Dunbar, Baltimore, MD; Jill (Derek) Russell, Pella, IA; Maggie (Patrick Ratzburg) Dunbar, Milwaukee, WI; Grace Comerford, Chicago, IL; Janelle Huffman, Charlotte, NC. Jo is preceded in death by husband Jim Parsons, son-in-law Bill Dunbar, granddaughter Lauren Dunbar, sister Mona Dusseljee, and parents Edith and Claude Walz.

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Services

Visitation
Monday
February 19, 2024

9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Vandemore Funeral Home - Geneseo
580 E. Ogden Avenue
Geneseo, IL 61254

Funeral Service
Monday
February 19, 2024

11:00 AM
Vandemore Funeral Home - Geneseo
580 E. Ogden Avenue
Geneseo, IL 61254

Burial

Oakwood Cemetery
1060 South Oakwood Ave
Geneseo, IL 61254

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