Cover photo for Jo Ann Fowler's Obituary
Jo Ann Fowler Profile Photo
1932 Jo 2024

Jo Ann Fowler

January 5, 1932 — January 2, 2024

Sioux City, IA

Jo Ann Fowler, 91, formerly of Sioux City and McCook Lake, passed away Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at Sunrise Retirement Community in Sioux City, Iowa.

A service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at First Presbyterian Church with Pastor Laurie Van Cura officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service. A private burial will be held at Graceland Cemetery following the luncheon. Arrangements are under the direction of Meyer Brothers Colonial Chapel. Online condolences can be directed to www.meyerbroschapels.com.

Jo Ann Fowler was born January 5,1932, to Florence Anderson Hammerstrom and Howard Hammerstrom in Sioux City, Iowa. Jo Ann attended Roosevelt Elementary, West Junior High School, and Central High School. She graduated mid-year in 1950. She promptly attended Morningside College where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in education.  She was involved in cheerleading, student government and other campus organizations. During this time, she met and fell in love with her future husband of 68 years, James Fowler. Jo Ann and Jim were married August 24,1952, in Sioux City; from this union they were blessed with two daughters.

Jo Ann treasured her teaching career. “Engineers make bridges, artists make paintings, scientists make rockets, but teachers make them all!” That is exactly what Jo Ann did for 32 years as an English, speech, and art teacher. She shared her passion for learning and shaped many lives. It was not uncommon for Jo Ann, or her family, to hear sincere compliments from many former students on what an amazing teacher she was, which was usually followed by “Mrs. Fowler was my favorite teacher.” She taught her first year at Akron High School; the remaining years were at Central High School and West Junior High School in Sioux City. She particularly enjoyed working with junior high students.

 Jo Ann committed a great deal of time and energy to many service organizations. She was president of the Junior League and was instrumental in establishing the Discovery Shop and the Volunteer Bureau. She was president of La Sertoma Club where she initiated the “Youth Service Award.”  She served on the Honors Board of the Sioux City Board of Education. She was a member of PEO for more than 50 years both in Sioux City and Coachella Valley, California. Jo Ann was a dedicated, lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church where she volunteered and served on numerous committees. 

Jo Ann cherished her beloved Morningside College. She was president of the Morningside Alumni Association where she received an outstanding service award for her leadership.  She also served nine years on the Morningside Board of Directors. Jo Ann and Jim were proud Morningside fans; they enjoyed attending and supporting many Morningside athletic events and never missed a homecoming game.

Jo Ann was especially proud of her Swedish heritage. All four of her grandparents immigrated from Sweden. Her family spent many Saturday nights at the Scandinavian Club. She was an accomplished accordion player and played in an accordion band. As an adult, Jo Ann took Swedish lessons and frequently sang her favorite Swedish song at family gatherings.

Jo Ann and Jim loved to travel; they took many trips throughout the United States and abroad. However, the trip to her ancestors’ home country of Sweden was her favorite. Jim and Jo Ann also enjoyed camping and owned various motorhomes for most of their marriage.

 Jo Ann had such a passion for nature. She often shared her love of the outdoors by painting pictures, journaling, and reading and writing poems. Jo Ann rarely missed a beautiful sunset; she would often call family members to make sure they did not miss the splendor of a breathtaking sunset. Her gift of sharing and truly appreciating God’s beauty will be passed on for generations.

Jo Ann loved their home on McCook Lake, South Dakota, where she could relax, go for rides on their pontoon boat, work on her genealogy, spoil her beloved dogs, and entertain friends and family. She especially enjoyed hosting their annual 4th of July parties. Jo Ann also found plenty of time to attend countless sporting events involving her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Jo Ann and Jim enjoyed their retirement years wintering at their home in Palm Desert, CA.

Jo Ann was a friend to many and a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. She instilled strong values and faith within her family. Jo Ann was a strength and support to her daughters Kris and Lynn. She was a dedicated, caring, and selfless mom who taught them to look at the world through kind and compassionate eyes. Her sweet smile and joyful personality will be dearly missed but will live on forever in our hearts. She was one in a million!

 Jo Ann is survived by her two daughters, Kris Brown (Mark) of Dakota Dunes, and Lynn Paulsen (Mark) of Dakota Dunes; four grandchildren, Chad Marx, who greeted her at heaven’s gate, Melissa Marx, Nick Paulsen (Alexa), Brianna Grotrian (Joel); eight great-grandchildren Siena, Jayce & Tye DeGeorgia, Emma, Elleanora & Eliza Paulsen, and Crew & Dash Grotrian. She is also survived by a special nephew and his family, Dr. Steven Hammerstrom (Marlene), Mia & Chase, and a special niece Debbie Palermo and her family Heather Blake (Ryan) and Anna Palermo.

Jo Ann was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Jim Fowler (Oct. 28, 2020), her brother Robert Hammerstrom, her sister-in-law Bonnie Hammerstrom, and her sister-in-law Ruth Eldredge.

Jo Ann’s family would like to extend special thanks to family friend Noreen Eskildsen, Sunrise Retirement Community/Bernstein Center, and St. Croix Hospice for their loving, compassionate service and care these past few years.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Morningside University Athletic Department. Thank you.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jo Ann Fowler, please visit our flower store.

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