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Jo Anne F. Kenyon
February 27, 1949 ~ January 31, 2024 (age 74) 74 Years Old
13 Trees, Flowers, or Condolences have been shared with support of Jo Anne's family - View on Tribute Wall
Jo Anne was born the oldest of 4 children in Ohio. At the age of 16, the family moved to Illinois where she graduated from Homewood-Flossmoor HS. Jo Anne met her husband, RB, at the University of Illinois in 1967. She graduated from the U of I with a bachelors degree in mathematics and a masters degree in education. During her time at U of I, Jo Anne was editor of the Illio yearbook and member of the Delta Gamma sorority. Jo Anne and RB have had season tickets to Illinois basketball and football games since 1972. Rarely taking breaks, unless to watch their own daughters’ and grandchildrens’ sporting events. In fact, she attended the Illinois vs Indiana men’s basketball game last Saturday.
Jo Anne taught math for 34 years in Danville and Champaign. Most of her tenure was spent at Centennial HS where she was head of the math dept and yearbook sponsor. She had many fond memories of her years at Central, Edison, and Columbia. She was a Eugene H Mellon Award recipient in 1992 and a Golden Apple Teacher Award recipient in 1995. Jo Anne was a highly regarded teacher among countless former students and parents. While she received numerous accolades, that wasn’t what motivated her, it was the kids. Her relationships with her students and colleagues brought her much joy.
In her 30s, Jo Anne took up golf with a passion, which she was forced to give up when diagnosed with MS. She fought multiple sclerosis for 38 years. The family would laugh, Jo Anne doesn’t have MS, MS has us. She never let it stop her. She looked forward to her annual family vacation on the shores of the Atlantic at Edisto Island, SC, where up to 45 family members would gather. For the last 34 years Jo Anne enjoyed being in the ocean surrounded by her kids, grandkids, and extended family for a week each summer.
Jo Anne had a passion for gardening. When her body didn’t allow for weeding and planting any longer, she loved directing her husband from her wheelchair. Being outside in her garden was her favorite place. Countless memories were created with family and friends in her yard.
Jo Anne is survived by her husband, James(RB) Kenyon of Champaign; Daughters Jennifer Chan(Jason) of Chicago, Leigh Anne Larsen(Andrew) of Downers Grove and Sara Stacy(Matt) of Downers Grove; Grandchildren Ethan Chan(14), Elise Chan(12), Mark Larsen(10), Jimmy Stacy(9), Vivienne Chan(8), Ali Larsen(7), Joey Stacy(5), Lena Larsen(5); Sisters, Mary Lee Eneberg(Bob) of Westchester, IL and Jean Powers of Thornton, CO; Brother, Chuck Fredrikson(Linda) of Weatherford, TX; Brother in law, Gordon Herbert(Jill) of Bloomington; Numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Jo Anne is preceded in death by her son, Christopher James Kenyon(infant); sister in law, Susan Herbert nee Kenyon; parents, Robert and Anne Fredrikson; mother and father in law, Carole and James Kenyon.
There will be a private Celebration of Life for family and friends this summer. If you would like to honor her memory, Jo Anne would appreciate donations to The Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and the National MS Society.