Joanne M. Wheeler (nee Derr), age 73, of North Tonawanda, passed away May 14, 2020. Joanne was born June 26, 1946 and grew up on Ladner Street and was a South Buffalo native until marrying the love of her life, George Wheeler, on May 25, 1968.
The couple resided in Niagara County for the entirety of their union where they raised their two children. Joanne was most comfortable in the kitchen. She cheerfully and lovingly served children of all ages for more than 20 years in cafeterias throughout the North Tonawanda district. In the fall you could often find her in the snack stand at NTAA serving players, parents and coaches with a brilliant smile on her face.
Joanne had a magic about her that made you feel comfortable and at ease within minutes of meeting her. She enjoyed talking over coffee and cookies and could do it for hours. It was easy to lose track of time in her presence. Birthdays were a momentous occasion and you could always count on getting the dinner of your choice and your favorite cake, all made from scratch. She was sassy, feisty and opinionated, all the way until the end, and we loved her for it. Joanne was a dedicated mother and grandmother. They always knew she was there cheering them on as they played soccer, football or lacrosse. To be fair, so did everyone else due to the obnoxious air horn and cowbell that accompanied her.
The family would like to extend heartfelt gratitude for the generous guidance and support from Colleen and Dr. Tejinder Kalra throughout the years and most especially the last two. We simply could not have done it without both of you. A special thank you also to the entire staff at Niagara Hospice for enabling Joanne to pass per her wish, at home, with family by her side. Our Father God abundantly provided comfort during this time through our pastor, Chad Rieselman, along with all of our friends at Lumber City Church Hope Center, and we are humbled by their kindness and continued prayers for our family.
Joanne is predeceased by her parents, Rita and Harry Derr; twin brother, John; brother, Chuck; and best friend and sister-in-law, Betty. She is survived by her brother, David (Judy); sisters-in-law, Elfie and Beverly; devoted husband of 51 years, George; son, George (Chelsea); daughter, Suzanne (Zac); grandsons, Zachary (Keara) and Carson; her partner in crime, Jan Smith; and many nieces, nephews and extended family.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Lumber City Church 383 Vandervoort Street, North Tonawanda, NY 14120 or www.lumbercitychurch.com or Niagara Hospice, www.niagarahospice.org.Interment at Acacia Park Cemetery.
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