In Memory Of
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JoAnn E. Lierz
08/23/1930 - 10/18/2018
With shout of acclamation, Christ came and carried JoAnn Elizabeth Lierz, 88, home on Thursday, October 18, 2018 while surrounded by her children at Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca.
The first of nine children to Frank T. and Josephine Buessing Heiman, JoAnn was born at 10:45pm on Saturday, August 23, 1930. Growing up in a farmhouse 3 miles northeast of St. Benedict, JoAnn eventually became big sister to 6 sisters and 2 brothers.
In her late teens, JoAnn spent many days with her widowed grandmother and would later describe how long and lonely those days would be in an era of no television and little radio. It was during this time, however, that JoAnn learned to crochet and thus began a lifetime of creating beautiful doilies, tablecloths, scarfs, afghans and Christmas ornaments, just to name a few.
JoAnn had a love of horses and often spoke of Goldie and Monty, the two her father had trained to perform tricks and that JoAnn would often ride. Eager to spend time with her best friend, JoAnn would ask her father’s permission to ride one of the horses to Alice Tangeman’s house. The short trip would become an adventure each time they secretly rode their horses into St. Benedict, being careful not to get caught and into trouble with JoAnn’s father.
At the tender age of 19, JoAnn’s dancing talent caught the eye of the handsome 21-year old Elmer Lierz. While at a dance, when JoAnn’s ‘ride’ wanted to leave early, Elmer offered to take her home and took the chance to sweep her off her feet. Elmer proposed on Christmas Eve in the car outside of church and JoAnn became his bride on February 9, 1952 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in St. Benedict, Kansas. Elmer and JoAnn made their home on a 240-acre farm just west of Oneida, only a 5-mile drive from Seneca. They worked hard milking cows, growing crops, raising chickens, hogs and eventually 8 children in the 4- bedroom, 1-bath 2-story farmhouse on the hill.
JoAnn had her hands full with so many little ones to feed and clothe and little help within the walls of the old drafty farmhouse. She did all she could to make ends meet from planting and tending the garden to canning and freezing multiple meats, fruits and vegetables; making everything from homemade breads, rolls and desserts to homemade dresses, pants and shirts; mending what she could from broken dolls and toys to scraped knees and elbows.
JoAnn was an incredible cook and even more impressive baker. Her children remember the days of running off the school bus into the house to grab a warm, freshly baked cookie from the dozens piled high on newspapers. JoAnn spoke of the need to make a 9×13” cake every other day to keep up with her growing family. She made the most delectable homemade cinnamon rolls, long johns and desserts and enjoyed the times she baked her sons their favorite pie for their birthdays.
A talented seamstress, JoAnn sewed clothes for herself, her daughters and their dolls, and always had jeans to patch for the 6 boys. She mended clothing for her children’s families, dresses for weddings, and Halloween costumes for grandchildren.
With a childhood dream of one day singing at the Grand Ole Opry, JoAnn delighted in her time spent as a soprano in the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church choir, and for many years could be seen singing for holiday masses, funerals and on Seneca’s Main Street every year at the start of Christmas season.
Elmer and JoAnn enjoyed socializing and having company over, playing cards, square dancing, and traveling to Kansas City, Iowa, Washington state and California. JoAnn enjoyed seeing her family grow
as well as attending the baptisms, birthday parties, graduations, games and weddings of her children and grandchildren. She always enjoyed the visits from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as JoAnn delighted in the time spent with kids, something that made babysitting requests difficult to turn down.
As the farmhouse emptied, JoAnn continued to serve by donating blood, assisting at elections, funeral lunches and the church picnics by volunteering her time and donating food. She did weekly adoration on Mondays at 8am for over 20 years, and was a member of the Country Homemakers Extension Unit of Nemaha County for over 25 years.
In March, 2000, after 48 years on the farm, Elmer and JoAnn moved into their 4-bedroom, 3-bath ranch home in Seneca. JoAnn was incredibly proud of her new home and eventually surrounded it with multiple red geraniums and colorful beds of petunias that always seemed to bloom more beautiful just for her.
Taking every opportunity to celebrate life, Elmer and JoAnn brought family together for their 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th and 65th wedding anniversaries as well as their 80th and 85th birthdays.
After Elmer left the earthly dance floor on July 2, 2017, JoAnn moved into a room with a courtyard view at Crestview Manor on August 17, 2017. Knowing many that lived there, she settled in well, continued to enjoy her daily Topeka Capital Journal, weekly Woman’s World magazine, visits from Crestview’s cat, Blue and all the visits from her family.
JoAnn was a prayerful woman of strong faith with a desire to serve others. She found solace in her prayer book, her daily praying of the rosary and weekly mass. JoAnn loved to sing and dance and read; she loved being happy and making others happy, finding every excuse to laugh. She loved babies, puppies and kittens, birds, flowers and dolls. JoAnn loved Elmer, her family and the simple things in life. Above all else and no matter what, Mom enjoyed having her children and families together.
After 472 days apart, JoAnn rejoined her dance partner and adoring and devoted husband of 65 years, Elmer (2017); her parents, Josephine (2003) and Frank (1975); brother Frank (2013); son Gerard (1963); and granddaughter Heather (1986).
JoAnn leaves behind 6 sons, Lynn (Gail), Gene (Joan), Alan (Julie) and Russel (Amy), all of Seneca; Linus, Baileyville; Gary (Brenda), Sabetha; 2 daughters, Donna (Leland), Dexter and Sandra (Mike), Wichita; 12 grandsons, Ryan, Randy, Matt, Jeff and Philip Lierz, Bradley Berkley, Chris, Logan, Colin, Jason and Nicholas Lierz, and Jacob Berkley; 9 granddaughters, Laurie Osterhaus, Wendy Fleagle, Nikki Ronnebaum, Krista Morgan, Michelle Keim, Lindsey Lierz, Kaylie Berkley, Bridget and Kaitlyn Lierz; 10 great-grandsons, Ethan and Mason Ronnebaum, Aiden Lierz, Hunter Fleagle, Fenton Keim, Jeffrey Lierz, Brycen Ronnebaum, Leo Lierz, Tucker Keim and Jaxon Lierz; and 3 great-granddaughters, Josie and Addison Osterhaus and Charli Fleagle; 6 sisters, Henrietta (Joe) Quaney, Loyola Sudbeck, Rosemary (Bud) McKay, Grace (Leroy) Rottinghaus, Carol (Richard) Lohmann and Ellen (Jim) Westerhaus; 1 brother, Lambert (Sharon) Heiman; and 1 sister-in-law, Anita Heiman.
JoAnn will be laid to rest next to her husband, Elmer, son, Gerard and granddaughter, Heather in the Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Seneca, KS. Pallbearers for the funeral service are her grandsons.
The rosary will be prayed in the Lauer Funeral Home at 2pm and 7pm on Sunday, October 21st.
The mass of Christian burial will be on Monday, October 22nd at 11am, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Seneca, KS.
Memorials are for Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church’s window project and/or Crestview Nursing and Residential Living sent in care of the family.