JoAnn Sheehan, age 93, died peacefully on May 29, 2013 at St. Mary’s Hospital, surrounded by members of her loving family. JoAnn was born Jan. 6, 1920 in Tulare, S.D., the daughter of Ben and Marguerite (Hamilton) Hodgson.
She was a graduate of Arena High School. JoAnn continued her education at Platteville Teachers College and later Edgewood College in Madison, where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. On June 17, 1941 she married Francis Sheehan in Mazomanie. She began her teaching career in 1940 in one-room rural schools (West Middleton, Verona and Hollandale).
In 1945, following World War II, she and her husband and family moved to Sun Prairie. She has been a longtime resident of Sun Prairie and a member of Sacred Hearts parish ever since. In September of 1951 she began teaching fourth grade at Sacred Hearts School. She progressed to teach in each grade level until 1962, when she began teaching the upper grades.
She spent 29 years teaching math in seventh and eighth grade.
Following her retirement in 1985, she continued to teach an eighth grade Algebra class one hour per day until 1996, and then for a few additional years continued to tutor students in math in her home.
JoAnn was first and foremost a teacher, not just as a profession, but as a life commitment. Her many students through the years, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, her extended family and friends have been touched and taught by her example. Her interests beyond school were always first her family and her church, but she also loved her summertime gardening, quilting, playing bridge and watching sports.
She was a member of the St. Ann’s Society and a past member of the Pastoral Council at Sacred Hearts. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary (past President) and the Wisconsin Math Council. She was recognized as an Outstanding Elementary Teacher of America in 1974 and in the “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” in 1996.
She is survived by her son, Michael (Deanna) of Rochester, Minn.; a daughter, Patricia Sheehan, of Wauwatosa; granddaughter Kristen (Bradley) Jacobsen; grandsons John (Shelly) Sheehan and Mark (Sheryl) Sheehan; eight great-grandchildren: Alise, Nathan and William Jacobsen, Genevieve and Olivia Sheehan, and Benjamin, Audrey and Daniel Sheehan; a sister, Phoebe Walter; and brothers Tom Hodgson and David (Barbara) Hodgson.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband, Francis.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 3, 2013 at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church, 227 Columbus Street, in Sun Prairie. Monsignor Duane Moellenberndt presided. Burial was at Sacred Hearts Cemetery.
A visitation was held on Sunday, June 2, 2013 from 5-7 p.m. at the Tuschen-Newcomer Funeral Home, 302 Columbus St., in Sun Prairie and from 10 a.m until the time of service at the church on Monday. A Prayer Service was held at 7 p.m.
Memorials can be made to the Sheehan Scholarship Fund or Sacred Hearts Endowment.