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In loving memory of
Jo Ann Porschien
  • Passed away on August 10, 2022

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Obituary

Jo Ann’s Story

Jo Ann Withers was born Oct.31st 1939 at the home of Erma and John Withers. Her older brother, John Howard, was coming home from school and his younger brother Mac came running out to greet him yelling “Guess what ? we got a new baby sister “ !!

Jo Ann grew up near Fountain Hill Arkansas on a small farmstead 10 miles from town. No electricity till she was 14 years old. Water was from a hand pump from the well out in the yard. During high water season in the spring her father would row her across the “Sabin” river so she could catch the school bus. Jo Played basketball in High School. Back then the girls had 6 players on each team, 3 played defense and 3 played offense. Jo played Offense, Jo graduated in 1957 with a class of 20.

Jo Ann went to Arizona to live with her Aunt Chris. She worked there several years, then she moved back to Arkansas. Jo Married Larry Cockrum, this union created two children, Don Randall and Barbara Denise. Jo Ann then moved to Chicago and worked as an executive secretary for several company’s. She talked about walking to work in high heels to and from work to save 25 cents each way on the bus. In 1971 she divorced. She married Larry #2 in 1974… Please notice she left a Larry and married another Larry.

Guess who never called her new spouse by the wrong name?

Guess who did? It was not pleasant..

Her new husband brought his son, Larry Jr into the family.

The 2 boy’s we’re the same age. Jo and I told everybody we had “his and hers” and none of Ours..

We talked about 1 of ours but these kids were crazy and we decided on a Yellow Lab puppy instead, enter Belle Star.

The family got a transfer through IBM to LaCrosse, Wisconsin in Oct 1976. Jo looked for secretarial work but all the wages were minimum wage. Jo took a job selling Parents Magazine doing cold calls. She did pretty good. Then Jo got recruited at a bratwurst stand to sell Home Interiors & Gifts by Jan Brandemuel in Haugen, Wisconsin. Jan ended up being one of Jo’s very dear friends. Jo did quite well selling Home Interiors and recruiting people to join the team.

She soon had 18 girls that were selling and doing well. She got promoted to Unit Manager. Next, she got promoted to Branch Manager and she was responsible for Approx 300 ladies. This Job had become a career and had lots of windshield time and 70 to 80 hours of work per week.

In her 25 years with Home Interiors she won numerous awards, Diamond Jewelry pieces, Fur Coats, Cruises, Silver Punch Bowl Set, She loved Home Interiors and the lady that Started the Company, Mary Crowley. Mary had started the company in her garage on a 10,000 dollar loan.

The Co. was run on Christian principles and Jo was very inspired and accepted Jesus, she had a great relationship with Jesus as a result until she took her last breath.

Jo was a great Decorator. We Owned 2 cabins, 1 Villa, 1 Town house, and 7 houses. Jo put cornice boards on all the window’s in the last 3 house’s we owned in Fla. I would build the board with ½ inch Plywood and ¼ inch Pine. Jo would pick the fabric to match the color of the paint in the room. She had an electric Stapler that she used to attach the batting and Fabric. I would attach the cornice to the wall over the window’s. They looked nice and we saved a lot of money doing it ourselves.

Jo Ann Loved Square dancing, we went for lessons. We used to go to the Wisconsin Dells many times for 2 night 3 day trips of Dancing. Lots of good friends and great times.

Jo also liked volleyball and she had a wicked side arm serve with her fist that the girls on the other team did not like to receive.

Jo Ann was also an exceptional Seamstress, she made her own wedding dress also her made of honor’s dress, her daughter’s dress, and her mother’s dresses. They were all beautiful. She also had made me a grey suit that I wore to work. On special holiday’s she would make matching outfits for the kids….we were looking sharp.

Jo was a good cook, and her corn bread was top notch. One of her most requested suppers by the kids was called slop. I remember her French dip sandwich, her split pea and Ham soup, brown gravy from scratch… she knew her way around the Kitchen.

Jo Ann had many talents but her greatest attribute was that hard work did not bother her at all. She was constantly busy doing things that were beneficial for her Family.

Jo was also involved in the creation of 2 new churches: Red Cedar Community Church in Rice Lake, WI, and Heritage Baptist Church in Fruitland Park, Florida.

Jo Ann loved cats and she saved and raised quite a few. Samantha, was her first cat rescued from a Walmart parking lot in the middle of winter in Rice Lake, WI. Guido- a barn Cat, Pandy- a tortoise shell cat, Macarina- also a tortoise shell who would sit in your lap for hours, Gypsy and Jim and Tigger. She spent many happy hours loving these cats.

Jo was preceded in death by John and Erma Withers (her mom and dad); her older brothers, Mac and John Howard. Jo was survived by her sister, Christeen Grey and her husband Bo; 2 nieces, Amanda and Angela; and nephew, Larry, alias Boomer.

She is missed by many still here on earth and welcomed by many in heaven. She had happy and full life and I was proud to call her my wife.


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  1. Larry Hanson lit a candle:
    28 Sep 2022
    Lit since September 28, 2022 at 9:48:59 PM

  2. Lisa Murray says:
    25 Sep 2022
    Never forget the first day I met JoAnn and Larry.
    They were moving in across the street from us in The Villages.
    Long story short, we became good friends. Had so many memorable times together! Best pizza ever!
    Often turned to JoAnn for advice, because I always knew she had my best interest at heart. I’ll miss you forever my friend ❤️

  3. Lisa Murray lit a candle:
    25 Sep 2022
    Lit since September 25, 2022 at 9:40:26 PM

  4. Lisa & Jay murray lit a candle:
    25 Sep 2022
    Lit since September 25, 2022 at 9:35:47 PM

  5. Martin and Sandy says:
    23 Sep 2022
    Larry, we love Joanne and we love you. we remember all the fun times we had together eating and cooking and boating. We are praying for you and Joanne and your family. We miss you

  6. Bob and Bernie bertacchi says:
    22 Sep 2022
    So sorry for your loss. We remember the good times we had together. We did not realize what she had accomplished during her life. She will be missed.

  7. Quent Tellefson lit a candle:
    21 Sep 2022
    Lit since September 21, 2022 at 9:01:23 AM

  8. Kitty Groch Medica says:
    21 Sep 2022
    My sympathy to you Larry & family for the loss of Jo Ann. A very special lady indeed. I always enjoyed being with Jo Ann & she always had something interesting to contribute whether it be a kind word, good food or helping decorate a home.
    Although Jo Ann came from humble beginnings she did so much with her life. A very ambitious & loving person. She will be missed by many, including me.
    Kitty Groch Medica

  9. Jeanie and Jim Bednar says:
    20 Sep 2022
    Sending our prayers and wishes for healing hearts and happy memories of Jo.

  10. Jeanie and Jim Bednar says:
    20 Sep 2022
    Dear Larry and Family, although we’ve lost close contact the past couple of years, we’ll never forget the fun times visiting you and Jo in many of your homes that JoAnn put her special touch to. She was always a gracious hostess as well as a good friend to all who knew her.
    I know your hearts are breaking but that you also know she’s where she needs to be. Her faith was strong and I hope the memories she made with all of you will ease the ache in your hearts. Sending prayers and hugs from Bear Lake. Love Jeanie and Jim

  11. michele cheyne says:
    20 Sep 2022
    So happy I got to meet Jo Ann she had a wonderful way about her she was very easy to be around.
    Jo Ann I am sure will be missed by many including myself. Prayers to your family

  12. Andrew Cheyne says:
    20 Sep 2022
    I'm so thankful I got to meet and know Jo Ann. I wanted to meet the lady that could put up with Larry. What a delightful woman! She will be missed but remembered as a very sweet and kind Lady,

    Andy

  13. Robert Heinze lit a candle:
    20 Sep 2022
    Lit since September 20, 2022 at 9:06:39 PM

  14. Gerry and Carol Jasko says:
    20 Sep 2022
    Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. We can remember so many great times in
    Rice Lake and Hayward. camping and fishing.
    May God be with you and your loved ones. We will always remember you.
    Love, Gerry and Carol Jasko

  15. John Outlaw says:
    20 Sep 2022
    Always a smile and always faithful as God gave her strength even through the tough times. You will be remembered and missed.
    Pastor John

  16. Ruth Thompson lit a candle:
    20 Sep 2022
    Lit since September 20, 2022 at 9:40:16 AM

  17. Ray Porschien says:
    19 Sep 2022
    Dear Mom, love you so much, going to miss you so much forever.
    Ray

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