LASALLE — JoAnn “Jo” Lydia Harju, 55, of LaSalle passed away Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, in Heritage Health Care in Peru.
Jo was born in Hancock, Mich., on April 28, 1958, to Wm and Hilda (Ethel) Harju. She lived most of her life in the Illinois Valley area and grew up in Spring Valley. She attended Triton College in Chicago, where she studied the arts. Jo worked as a photo journalist for BCR newspaper in Princeton and later for Riverstone Group in Utica as an office manager for many years before her illness.
Jo was a beautiful and gentle soul. She was a talented writer and artist who loved nature and the outdoors. Her deepest love was for that of her children and grandchildren, family and friends. She was a quick witted, easygoing, compassionate person and was kind to everyone. She will be missed every moment of every day by those of us who loved and knew her. Her life made ours better.
JoAnn is survived by her five children, Manessa (Terry) Trench of LaSalle, Dax (Harmony)Nelson of Spanaway, Wash., Jared (Adrienne) Nelson of Tacoma, Wash., Candice (Timothy)Pratt of Princeton and Trevor (Jade) Halm of Cedar Point; one brother, Dr. Mel (Gwendolyn)Harju of Benton, La.; three sisters, Tess Harju of Spring Valley, Patricia (David) Belanger of Longview, Texas, and Fay (Rahn) Data of LaSalle; her grandchildren, Calista, Jaycee and Jocelyn Pratt, Damien Nelson, Michael Trench, Ericha Olalde, Rileigh Smith, Raakel Nelson, Laiken, Landen and Lennox Halm; her nieces and nephews, Jessica, Jarrek, Jenavieve and Justin Dyer, Autumn Franklin, Blake Harju, K. Ashlee (Kristen) Harju-Jalley, Shawn Jackson family, Lena (Bernhard) Bittl family, Amy (Bill) Sommer family, Rob Hash family, Cindi (David)Baldwin family, Kimberly (Daniel) Vermillon-Fulmer family; the Nelson nieces and nephews; and JoAnn’s many cousins and loved ones.
JoAnn is preceded in death by her mother and father and beloved aunties, Pearl and Esther.
A Celebration of Life will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, in the Hurst Funeral Home in LaSalle. Visitation will be from 5 p.m. until the time of services.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to her family.
The family wishes to thank IVCH Special Procedures, IV Hospice, Illinois Regional Cancer Care and Heritage Manor for the loving care they showed JoAnn.