OBITUARY: Mary JoAnn Wilson


Mary JoAnn Wilson, cherished wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother went to be with her heavenly father on June 14, 2024, at the age of 89 in Gallatin, TN.

She was born on May 2, 1935, in Springfield, Ohio, to the late Mary Kathryn Brumbaugh Printz and Joseph M. Printz.

JoAnn was preceded in death by her husband, J. Richard Wilson, and son, Steven T. Wilson.

JoAnn grew up in Springfield, Ohio with her younger brother Jim. She met her husband as the neighbor boy at age 5 who became her best friend over the years. They always walked to school together and started dating in high school. They married in 1956 and celebrated 56 years together, raising their family first in Springfield, OH, then Lionville, PA, and finally in Gallatin, TN. They retired to Knoxville, TN in 1999 to be closer to family and help raise their grandchildren. Through all of this, JoAnn was the ultimate mother and grandmother filling her family’s life with love, heaps of pets, wonderful food, and lots of laughter!

She was a Cub Scout den mother, Girl Scout assistant leader, and family chauffeur for swim lessons, band and sports practice, and youth group activities. And because of her, grandchildren’s summers were heavily scheduled with weekly outings to the library, Dollywood, free movies, and swimming. To her, ice cream could make everything better! She was an eternal optimist, encourager, and had the best sense of humor and a memorable laugh which would make any situation better and as fun as possible. Everyone who knew her has at least one good humorous story to tell.

JoAnn was a dedicated Registered Nurse, having worked at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, OH where she loved caring for the preemie babies; Gallatin Memorial Hospital and R.R. Donnelley in Gallatin, TN as an Industrial Health Nurse until her retirement in 1998. She would give excellent care and empathy but wasn’t big on sympathy. If you were looking for sympathy, she would tell you to look in the dictionary between sex and syphilis! And her children would be the first to tell you that they rarely were allowed a sick day home from school.

But it was the babies she loved most. She was hands-on with all of her grandbabies. Much to her own chagrin, she only made it to one of her grandchildren’s actual deliveries (Jaden-the 9th of 9) and that was only because it was scheduled. In retirement in Knoxville, after most grandchildren were raised, JoAnn started caring for newborns for young families. She helped five different newborns get off to a good start before going to preschool. You couldn’t have left a newborn with anyone more capable or loving.

JoAnn is survived by her daughter Susan Hamilton (Ron,) son Scott Wilson (Ruby,) daughter Stephanie Harville (Richie); granddaughters Kathryn Locke (Alan), Rebekah Price (Chase), Savannah Kreager(Christopher,) and Abigail Hamilton, as well as grandsons Michael Wilson (Shayna,) Chris Wilson, Alexander Hamilton, Jamey Harville & Jaden Harville. She is also survived by a large extended family of great-grandchildren and surrogate children! Wherever JoAnn lived, she developed amazing, close friendships with folks that became like family.

JoAnn graduated from Springfield High School in 1953 and later from the Miami Valley Hospital School of Nursing in 1956.

She was a life-long Christian and proved to be an invaluable church member & leader. In fact, she and Richard were active charter members of several churches, including the Primitive Methodist Church in Lionville, PA and Hendersonville First Christian Church, Hendersonville, TN. In retirement, they were active at Woodlawn Christian Church, Knoxville, TN.

In her free time, JoAnn enjoyed playing the piano, singing in the church choir, decorating, vegetable gardening, canning and freezing, cooking and hosting family gatherings, and exploring antique and thrift stores searching always for the ultimate bargain! She truly was a bargain queen and knew how to stretch a dollar better than anyone! She had a passion for rescuing animals, traveling, camping and being outdoors. She was very proud to have been a military mom and have a son & two grandsons serve in the US Air Force.

While cleaning out her apartment after JoAnn had passed, her family came upon a card attached to a Thomas Kincaid print her husband had given her for their 43rd wedding anniversary. Her husband included a note which beautifully summarized their marriage. He expressed how the wisest decision of his life had been to make her his wife and the mother of his children and that he continually praised God for the fine family they managed to raise together. He said it was his earnest hope and prayer, and he trusted hers as well, that they spend eternity together. What a gift for all of us to find this just after she passed. We take great comfort in knowing that both our parents were strong Christians and are now in Heaven together for eternity, just as they wanted.

JoAnn’s kindness, optimism, infectious laughter and humor, dedication, and love for her family, pets and friends will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

A Celebration of Life service will be held for JoAnn Wilson on Wednesday, July 3rd at First United Methodist Church, 149 West Main Street, Gallatin, TN 37066. Receiving of Friends at 10:00 am followed by service at 11.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Sumner County Humane Society or the Charter Senior Living of Gallatin Employee Fund.


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