Jo Ann Mersen passed away on January 3, 2022, at the age of 91 years, surrounded by her four loving daughters. Jo Ann was born in Hinsdale, Montana to Alice and Richard P. Nelson in 1930, the youngest of the three Nelson girls, joining sisters Shirley and Carol. She was baptized in the First Methodist Church in Hinsdale, in April of 1946. Jo Ann graduated from Hinsdale High School in 1948 and went to college at the University of Montana, majoring in Public School Music.
Jo Ann married Frank John “Kyke” Mersen Jr., in Hinsdale on July 23, 1950. They spent the next 71 years together, raising their four daughters, Marcia Brown, Becky Erickson, Johanna Mersen and Jane Mersen Callantine.
Jo Ann was a fantastic cook and baker: making all of the buns and turtle cheesecakes, as well as other specialty desserts, for Sam’s Supper Club for 25 years and baking for Sam’s Catering Service. Her recipe for Chess Squares was published in a Boeing in-flight magazine. She was a partner in B&J’s Housekeeping Service.
Music was always a very important part of her life. She had a beautiful voice and sang hundreds of solos for weddings and funerals. She and her friend Eleanor Rosendahl sang duets for many occasions including PEO conventions and she was a member of the “Heathertones” a choral group that performed in and around Valley County. She was a member of the PEO sisterhood for over 65 years.
Jo Ann has been a devoted member of the First Lutheran Church in Glasgow since 1952, serving the Lord through WELCA, singing in the Senior Choir, baking cookies and desserts for the Scandinavian Bake Sale, attending church circle, Bible study, directing youth choirs and quilting. She served in the prayer shawl ministry knitting dozens of prayer shawls for those in need.
Jo Ann served on the board of the Community Concert Association for numerous years and also assisted with other charitable organizations, including band boosters and the Cancer Relay for Life. She enjoyed golfing, gardening, playing bridge and most important to her was her Lord and her loving family. She also participated in community theater productions.
She enjoyed spending time with her daughters, road tripping, golfing, knitting, giving lessons on bread making, reading, and traveling to different parts of the world. Jo Ann never said an unkind word about anyone or anything.
Jo Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Kyke, who passed away March 27, 2021; her parents; parents-in-law Frank and Louise Mersen; sisters, Shirley Nelson Wallis and Carol Nelson Bowen, Rollie Bowen, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Harold and Betty Garnaas; brother-in-law, Bryce Wallis and nephew Robert Garnaas. She is survived by her daughters, Marcia (Russ) Brown and children Trent (Amanda Dyer) and Stephanie (Mike) Maier and grandchildren Carter, Paige and Owen Maier; Becky (Lee) Erickson and their daughter Elissa Erickson and grandson Leo Erickson; Johanna Mersen and Steve Blakeman; Jane (Jake) Callantine and children Catherine (Curtis) Doubet and granddaughter Camryn; and Krista Callantine; nieces and nephews Suzy Bloom, Rick (Martha) Wallis, Jeff Wallis (Hal Cohen), Cheryl Kippen and Bill (Jan) Bowen; Rich (Karen) Garnaas and Mark (Renee) Garnaas.
A celebration of Jo Ann’s life will be held 1:00 p.m., Saturday, January 22, 2022 at First Lutheran Church in Glasgow, Montana with Pastor Scott Kiehn officiating. Condolences may be left for the family at bellmortuaryglasgow.com. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Lutheran Church, Glasgow City County Library, or the charity of the donor’s choice.