On October 12, 2022, JoAnn James went to the arms of her savior and a cloud of witnesses that had gone before her. JoAnn started playing the piano at Atwater Assembly of God at the age of twelve, a gift that continued to serve her through her 30 year career as Minister of Music at Christian Life Center in Merced, CA. She and her husband Ron, created several vocal ensembles which toured churches throughout the Central Valley. Jo Ann also served as the director of large musical productions at Christian Life Center for Christmas, Easter and the 4th of July. Directing an 80-voice choir that was once noted as one of the ten best choirs in the US, she reached thousands of people with the gospel. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter’s campaign requested that she provide music for his visit to Merced.
She lived her entire 81 year life, minus her last 5 months, in Merced, and was celebrated for her fashion sense and her many hair styles. She loved to shop (particularly in San Francisco), travel and was a connoisseur of great Mexican food, especially salsa. Having survived 20+ auto accidents and one airplane crash she was often teased for a lack of luck (luckily her beloved Ron worked in the insurance industry). Given that she was the child of Oklahomans who fled the dust bowl to work as farmers, we know that her life was truly blessed and that she blessed her community which she loved.
She is survived by her sons, Curt and wife Joanne in Lead, SD, Brent and wife Michelle in Bremerton, WA, and her daughter Andrea and her husband Eddie Hultgren in Ozark, MO, her grandchildren, Jesse, Luke, Casey, Ian, Nevada, Zachary, Jack and Kate and great Grand-Children Zora and Alivia.
A memorial service will be held at Christian Life Center in Merced, CA at 2:00 p.m. on November 6, 2022. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to the music ministry at Christian Life Center.
Cremation rites will be accorded by Adams Crematory and arrangements are under direction of Adams Funeral Home, Ozark.