JoAnne Pankratz

January 14, 1934 to August 27, 2018

JoAnne Pankratz, 84, of San Diego, California, passed away peacefully on August 27, 2018. She was at home with her beloved husband of 64 years, Walt.

JoAnne was born in Fort Worth, Texas to Robert George “Bob” and Helen Viola “Vi” Walker on January 14, 1934. The family moved to Chicago when she was still an infant and then to Fort Dodge, Iowa when she was 9 years old. It was at the age of 16 that JoAnne realized how Christ died for our sins and gave her life to him. She graduated from Fort Dodge High School in 1952 and then went to college at Ottawa University, where she met her husband Walt. The two were married on June 12, 1954. Walt was commissioned into the US Navy and after flight training they were stationed in Barbers Point, Hawaii, where their daughter Laura was born. After completion of military service the family moved to Alhambra, California where their son Mark was born. In 1962 they returned to Ottawa, Kansas where Walt served as Business Manager for the university for 18 years and JoAnne returned to school to finish her degree in psychology. Their daughter Spring was born in Ottawa and Jo began a successful career in real estate, however it was a dream come true when the opportunity to move to San Diego came up in 1981. Walt and Jo became members of the First Baptist Church and were active in Sunday school, choir, and both served on the church board. They enjoyed annual trips to Hawaii and frequent visits to Ottawa to celebrate class reunions. Always the consummate hostess, Jo threw many parties and dinners for friends and family at her home. Over the past 33 years they saw all three adult children happily married and welcomed 6 grandchildren.

JoAnne was preceeded in death by her daughter-in-law Harriet Pankratz. She is survived by her husband Walt; daughter and son-in-law Laura and Jeff Ambrose of San Diego; son Mark and partner Peg of Ashburn, Virginia; daughter and son-in-law Spring and McClellan Plihcik of Matthews, North Carolina; granddaughters Ashley Pankratz of Ashburn, Virginia; Heidi Pankratz of San Diego; Danica Plihcik of Matthews, North Carolina; and grandsons Brett Ambrose of Torrance, California; Cole Ambrose of San Luis Obispo, California; and Brian Plihcik of Matthews, North Carolina.

A memorial service and reception are planned for September 22, 2018 at the First Baptist Church of San Diego with Pastor Scott Furrow officiating. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Ottawa University’s DeFries Society for the Performing Arts using the link below:
Or to the Scripps Health Foundation:

Bob & I were very sad to learn about the passing of Jo. We have wonderful memories of the time that she & her family were our next door neighbors in Ottawa. Spring & our Amy developed a friendship that has continued. Jo hosted a baby shower for me when our son, Jason, was born. She was a woman of great faith,& many talents who had a kind & caring heart. Our prayers are with Walt, the children & grand children. We know she will be greatly missed. Our hearts hurt for you Spring, Walt & all. We send much love. Joyce& Bob Green

Joyce M Green on September 18, 2018

Jo was a wonderful person. I grew up next to the Pankratz family in Ottawa and have such great memories of Jo. I spent many days at her house with Spring and know what a loving, faithful person Jo was. Prayers for strength and comfort to Spring, Laura, Mark, Walt and family.

Amy Green Suiter on September 18, 2018

My thoughts and prayers are with Walt and his family.

Bev Hammond on September 14, 2018

Hello Walt. I sent something in the mail and then saw this here. Would like to say sorry for your loss. Jo seemed to always have a smile and be a happy person. It was always good to be around her. May God bless you with His peace and presence. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - Jesus in John 14:27

Chris, Sveta, Anastacia, Milana Hearn on September 13, 2018

Peace and Grace to you,from our Heavenly Father above. Will always remember her lovely voice. What many wonderful contributions you both made to First Baptist. Thank you. Lovingly. Kathy Angus

Kathy Angus on September 13, 2018

Rest in peace our dear aunt Jo. We know you will be waiting and watching for us all as we too shall follow. We will miss your humor and lovely poetry and that wonderful smile you shared with us all. Pick out some great real estate in heaven for our future Walker family reunion. In Christ we will all be together again. May peace and comfort surround the family in the days and weeks ahead.

Greg and Annette Larson on September 02, 2018