Jo Ann Wilch
Jo Ann Wilch, 89, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died on Nov. 15, 2020, from complications related to COVID-19. Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services of Mount Vernon is in charge of arrangements. Jo would not want to put any of her family and friends and
the larger communities
from which they come unnecessarily in danger of infection, illness or death from COVID-19. For that reason, the family has decided to hold a remote-only funeral Mass out of a preponderance of caution for everyone's health. It will be livestreamed from St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 28, starting at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time. To join the family at the funeral Mass, click on this link www.youtube.com/c/StIgnatiusParishSF. Inurnment and a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date in the Mount Vernon and Lisbon area, when family and friends can safely gather.
Jo was born Sept. 18, 1931, in Charles City, Iowa, one of five children of Irwin and Josephine Edie, and grew up in Rudd, Iowa. She met the love of her life, John Peyton Wilch, at North Iowa Area Community College, Mason City, Iowa, in 1949. They married on Aug. 22, 1951, and spent most of their married life in Mount Vernon, Iowa.
Jo was preceded in death by her beloved husband, John; daughter, Meredith Kathleen; her parents; her brother, Eugene Edie; her sister, Betty Winslow; Jo's nephews, Barry and Steve Dyre (Betty's sons); and Gabriel Wilch III (John's brother, Gabriel Jr.'s son).
She is survived by daughter, Edie of Seattle, Wash.; and sons, John Jr. (Jarene) of Davenport, Iowa, Matthew (Jeffrey Hutson) of Baltimore, Md., Mark (Clemens Auer) of Vienna, Austria, Patrick of Tucson, Ariz., Daniel (Dean Gray) of New York, N.Y., Thomas (Ellen) of Albion, Mich., and Peter (Regina Doody) of Sausalito, Calif. She also is survived by her grandchildren, Rachel (John), Esther (Dan), Clara, John, Henry, Jane, Joe, Alex (Daniela), Lauren (Carl), Miriam, Peyton and Evan; and great-grandchildren, Ernie and Leo. And she is survived by her sister, Rose Marie Tucker; her brother, John Edie (Donna); by nephews, Mark Dyre (Linda) of Minneapolis, Minn., Tom Dyre (Georgia) of Culpeper, Va., Bill Tucker of Cresco, Iowa, Chris Wilch (Leasa) of Wichita, Kan., Andy Wilch (Susan) of Portland, Ore.; and by a host of great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins and friends.
Deep gratitude is due to cousins Nicole Zoerink and Mary Wilch for their dedicated work as nurses in these dangerous times of COVID-19 and to Clemens Auer for his resolute efforts at the Austrian Ministry of Health in the battle against COVID-19.
Jo was a lifelong devout Democrat and bridge and general card shark. She was active in the community as a member of St. John's Church, with the League of Women Voters, Ingleside, the Antique Club, PTA, and as a poll-worker. Besides raising a large family with love and patience and running a large household with skill and artistic flair, she worked for BIOS, The Sun, Plaza Auto Auction and Cornell College. A huge fan of Van
Johnson and Paul Newman, and more recently Colin
Firth and Bradley Cooper, Jo was an avid and knowledgeable filmgoer and reader.
As welcoming hosts, Jo and John always had a full
and lively home. Jo carried on from her mother the core tradition of gathering together around the table, for meals, for cards, but above all for conversation. Everybody had a place at that table: the nine Wilch children and whichever of their friends happened to show up, sometimes as whole school classes or football, basketball or wrestling teams; later her children's partners and spouses, her 12 grandchildren and their friends, exchange students and teachers from many different lands, visiting relatives, and so, so many friends, new and old. At mealtime, there was always great food or in between times, a fresh pot of coffee, a pitcher of lemonade or a bottle of wine on hand, a hidden stash of cashews to bring out. And of course, popcorn, popcorn, popcorn.
Jo's spirit and legacy live on in those she touched. She was a beloved wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and, most of all, friend. To be in her presence was to be seen: she had the gift of appreciating each individual, with her innate warmth, curiosity and openness. She excelled as the matriarch of her large clan but was too funny, feisty and smart to be reduced to a prescribed role. A proud Iowa girl, she came from the tiny town of Rudd but had an expansive view of the world and people in all their diversity and with all their flaws. She faced heartbreaking losses especially the abrupt deaths of daughter and husband that might create bitterness but only added to her wisdom and empathy (including to herself). Besides her family and friends, she loved a good book, bridge, a cup of coffee, a cigarette, a glass of chardonnay, her transistor radio, NPR, penny slot machines, Sonny Rollins, the Democratic Party, black licorice and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The world has lost a true individual. Although Jo's passing leaves a painful, gaping hole in the lives of her family and friends, all can take comfort in the fact that she will live on in the hearts, minds and actions of her family members and of those who have come to call her a friend. Godspeed, Jo.
Jo was a resident at Meth-Wick for the last five years, where she enjoyed seeing other old friends from Mount Vernon and Cedar Rapids who were residing there. Where she, being Jo, made a host of new friends and acquaintances. The COVID-19 outbreak brought an end to card parties and birthday gatherings, to visits from outside friends and family.
The family would like to thank Meth-Wick, especially Cindy Scott and staff, for all they have done to help Jo deal with health challenges over the last several months. The family's deep gratitude, as well, to the medical and nursing staff at Mercy Medical Center for the competent, compassionate and tireless care they have given her. You truly are our heroes.
The family suggests sending memorial contributions to the Mercy Employee Relief Fund at Mercy Medical Center, 701 10th St. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403, email@example.com; the Hawkeye Area Community Action Program Inc., HACAP-Food Reservoir, 1515 Hawkeye Dr., Hiawatha, IA 52233-1102, www.hacap.org/donate; or to a local charity of your choice dedicated to helping people who need a helping hand.
Please share your support and memories with Jo's family at www.stewartbaxter.com under obituaries.