SALMON, Idaho — Johanna “Jo” Pauline (Zakes) Wolters, 94, died of natural causes in Salmon, Idaho, on Nov. 14, 2012.
Jo was born on April 1, 1918, in Doering, Wis., to Eva Magdalene (Marouskas) Zakes and Martin Zakes, both born in Lithuania and immigrated together to the United States in 1912. Right after Jo’s birth, the family moved back to Chicago, having lived in Wisconsin only a few months.
Jo’s father died the month after her birth leaving her mom and two older siblings, Millie (Amelia) and Albert. With no knowledge of English and no work available, Jo’s mother, Eva, married a Lithuanian-born man, Edward Kraptovich, she hardly knew in order to keep her children with her. From this union, Jo had two more siblings, Helen and Edward. They all grew up in Chicago through the great depression.
On Aug. 27, 1938, Jo married her older brother’s best friend, William A. Wolters Jr. in Chicago. Jo and Will had three children, William A. III, Thomas J. and JoAnn E., who were all born in Chicago. In 1955, the family moved to Elmhurst, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.
Jo worked in office jobs from 1950 on as her mother, Eva, lived with her family after Eva’s husband died. A three-generation family in one house was common in those days.
Jo loved sports, especially softball. She also dearly loved family gatherings, picnics and holiday celebrations. Auntie Jo, as she was called by many loving nieces and nephews, was a favorite among the kids. Jo always had time to play and laugh and care about them. Jo stayed in contact with them throughout her whole life, being an avid letter writer and birthday card sender.
In 1972, Jo and Will retired and moved to Atascadero. Will was a terrific golfer and Jo took up the sport in retirement. Jo enjoyed it mainly as a social event to enjoy with her many girlfriends even though she has two holes-in-one trophies to her name. She easily made friends as she accepted people as they are and loved them that way.
Walking and golfing kept Jo healthy and strong and active. She moved to Salmon, Idaho, about three years after her husband died to live with her daughter, JoAnn Wolters, and her son-in-law, Dan Schroeder. She remained very active walking miles with her good friend, Jo McCampbell. In 2006, at the age of 88, she had a massive stroke. Even then Jo battled back to be able to walk again. Eventually, this wore her down slowly but surely until her death.
Two of Jo’s dreams were realized. One was to visit her parents’ birthplace, Lithuania, which she had heard about so much from her mom. She did that with her daughter in 1999 and loved watching the videos of their trip. Her second dream of having her family all together was realized in 2006 when 82 members of her family cruised the Caribbean together in a joyful reunion marred only by the fact that Jo’s massive stroke happened one week before the cruise. She still made the trip in a wheelchair and had her delightful upbeat attitude as usual.
Johanna is survived by her son, Thomas John Wolters (Celia) and JoAnn Eve Wolters (Daniel Schroeder); grandchildren, Zane Wolters, Tage Wolters, Kurtney (Wolters) Noonan, William A. Wolters IV, Ashley (Wolters) Taylor, Kim (Wolters) Kort, Eva (Wolters) Dorman, Brent Gates, Daniela Wolters, Johanna Schroeder (mom’s namesake) and David Schroeder; 17 great grandchildren, one great-great-grandchild; her younger brother, Edward Kay; and many loving nieces and nephews.
Johanna was predeceased by her husband, William A Wolters Jr., her son, William A. Wolters II, her grandson, Duane D. Gates, her siblings, Millie (Amelia) (Zakes) Janolis, Albert Zakes, and Helen (Kraptovich) Bagnall.
A funeral mass was be held in Salmon, Idaho, at St Charles Catholic Church at 11 a.m. on Nov. 24 with a reception following in the parish hall. Johanna’s ashes will be combined with her husband’s and returned to the earth. A memorial celebration of life is planned in Atascadero at noon on Dec. 8 from noon to 2 p.m. and hosted by Jo’s old friends and neighbors, Anet and Charlie Carlin, 5529 Tunitas Ave. Johanna wished for all her family and friends to not send flowers that die so quickly. Jo wished for all to do a good deed to a stranger or someone you don’t like very much — true to her belief in loving one another.
For the complete article see the 12-05-2012 issue.
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