On a crisp October afternoon, Halloween, 1930, JoAnne Helen Tefft was born in Newport Hospital, Rhode Island, and sister Jackie, mother Bea and father Coley Tefft brought the healthy little girl back across the bridge to their rambling home on the southwest side of the island in Jamestown. A young life of fishing, swimming and exploring the six by one mile Conanicut Island gave the little tomboy a lifelong sense of curiosity and fearless optimism that defined her character as an adult woman. Working in Tefft’s Bar & Grill, the family tavern on the Jamestown Ferry landing, taught her to listen to and care about people in a way that was to provide her with many grateful and loving friends. It was also in the family business, following WW II, that she met her husband-to-be and veteran submariner, John Edward Hogan. They were married on April 1st, 1948, just after John’s birthday on March 17th. Yes, Halloween, St. Patrick’s and April Fool’s Day; a convergence of the mystic, the lucky and the mischievous.
After a romantic honeymoon in Cooperstown, N.Y., JoAnne began her life as a Navy wife. The young couple moved from station to station as they welcomed daughter Wendy in 1949, son Kevin in 1952 and Kim in 1956. After short tours at several bases, John, a naval electrician, applied for and was assigned to the Pacific Fleet Naval Base in San Diego, a port he had visited and loved during the war. Stuffing almost everything they owned, including JoAnne’s dad, Coley, into a large, green Chevrolet station wagon, the family made their way across the United States and the golden west to California where they celebrated the birth of daughter Beth in 1957. After a few years in military housing the family moved into their four-bedroom Rancho Deluxe home on Martindale Court in Mission Village.
JoAnne was the good wife and mother raising, her children to be respectful and curious and providing a warm and welcoming home for her husband, father and children and a wide range of interesting and fun loving friends. A den mother, PTA parent, and honorary local traffic monitor, known affectionately as the Block Warden, JoAnne always provided a listening ear and a consoling voice for all of the angst ridden teenagers and new mothers filling up the neighborhood. As her own kids left the nest, JoAnne found fulfilling and engaging employment as a cafeteria worker at Benito Juarez Elementary school and every lunch served to a hungry child came with a generous portion of love and good cheer.
In her later life JoAnne and John enjoyed their friends, travel, and their kids and grandkids. Connections to the Grantville VFW Post 3787, St. Columba Catholic Church, the Kearny Villa Y swimming club and all of her various Liverpool pals and associates gave her a rich and supportive group of friends as she visited Italy, Mexico, Alaska and the Panama Canal. Her last days were spent in her home surrounded by family and friends and she passed from this world on the morning of June 28th in the company of daughters Wendy and Kim, good neighbor Ed Marr and hospice nurse Kristie Smith.
She is survived by daughter Wendy Ellerman (Wade), Kevin Hogan (Lynne), Kim Bullock (Don), and Beth Hogan (and John Callister), seven grandchildren, Emily Molloy (Mark), Benjamin Heegard, Max Heegard, Cosabeth Bullock (Ben), Krista Palmer (Matthew), Parker Callister, Sophie Callister, and great grandchildren Stella Molloy, Jack Molloy, Ethan Heegard, Ada Bullock and Sage Palmer.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to: Sharp Hospice Care, P.O. Box 158, La Mesa, CA, 91944, or St. Columba School Tuition Assistance Program, 3327 Glencolum Drive, San Diego, 92123.