Joanne Lucille (Reese) Strutt, 89, was born in Dodgeville, WI, on January 25, 1931, and died at her home in McGregor, IA on July 15, 2020. She married her high school sweetheart, Donald Frost Strutt (“Doc”), on March 19, 1951. Doc had preceded her in death four months earlier, on March 6, 2020, 13 days short of their 69th wedding anniversary.
Jo attended The University of Dubuque as a music major, although completion to graduation was superseded by marriage to Doc and raising a family of five children. She was an active partner to Doc in all of their joint life endeavors including his chiropractic practice and served as editor of the North Iowa Times newspaper. Jo made full use of her education, along with her inborn musical talent, serving as choir director at the McGregor United Methodist Church for over 60 years, from January 26, 1953 through 2013. She also enjoyed volunteering as the community choir director for the larger McGregor area, and was thrilled to have guest conducted the Lawrence Welk band and the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra. On January 26, 2003, The University of Dubuque conferred her an honorary alumnae recognition in appreciation of her long time musical service to the McGregor area. But she always considered her most significant achievement as creating a welcoming and loving space for family and friends; Sunday dinners with a few or a lot were a fixed schedule at her home.
Jo was an active community leader. She was appointed by Iowa Governor Ray to serve on the judicial selection commission, and the Strutts often hosted visiting foreign dignitaries and U.S. politicians in their McGregor home. Both Jo and Doc were instrument-flight-rules (IFR) rated pilots. Jo also served on the McGregor Public Library board, UMC board, The University of Dubuque seminary advisory board, local performing arts board, park board, tourist club, Eastern Star Matron and Rainbow Girls Adviser.
Jo loved Doc, family, friends, and her plants – especially her great-great grandma’s Christmas cactus – all of whom she nurtured with love and care. She was the family photographer, record keeper and leader. She was tech savvy and enjoyed keeping connected with all of those she cared for, on Facebook, emails and video chats. Jo and Doc’s love for each other was a shining example to all who knew them, and we know she is happy to be back with him.
Jo was the last survivor of her family’s generation. She was preceded in death by her parents, Stanley and Ella Mae (Edam) (Perkins) Reese of Dodgeville, WI; her younger brother Jack Reese of Monroe, WI; her older sisters Melva (Perkins) (Geach) Detwieler of Warren, IL; Joyce (Perkins) (Russell) Lueke of Woodville, OH; her older brothers Donald Perkins of Waukegan, IL, Forest Perkins of Whitewater, WI; her sister-in-law Mary Lou (Strutt) Peterson, Madison, WI; her great-grandson Jackson Ellerbach of Onalaska, WI; and her soulmate Doc. She is survived by her brother-in-law Bill (Judy) Strutt, Friendship, WI; children Charles (Janet), Grimes, IA, David (Marci), West Des Moines, IA, Dawson (Jackie), Onalaska, WI, Dr. Craig (Terri), McGregor, IA, and Darci (Michael McQuiston), North Hudson, WI; 23 grandchildren; 39 great grandchildren, and her great great grandma’s Christmas catcus (194 years old and still going strong).
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to St. Croix Hospice and/or the McGregor Public Library Foundation, in honor of Joanne.
A memorial service will be at 10 am on Saturday, July 25, 2020 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, McGregor, Iowa. Due to Covid concerns the family recommends you wear a mask and social distance from people that are not your immediate family. The service will be recorded and posted on line for those that are not comfortable attending.
Thornburg-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service, McGregor, Iowa is helping the family with the arrangements.