JoAnn was born January 26, 1946 to Harry Edward Wheeler and Josephine (Papa) Wheeler in Shreveport, Louisiana. She had a love for horses and learned to ride at a very young age and traveled with her daddy to wherever there was a horse show where she would barrel race her horse Rex or ride and show her horse Jan winning many ribbons over the years. She said she would saddle up Rex and be gone all day long sometimes and that it was Rex that she confided in.
JoAnn married and became a mother at a very young age having all seven of her children by the age of 26. She strived to be a good wife and mother baking cupcakes or cookies for one or more of her kids' classrooms at any given time, helping with homework or school projects and was even a Brownie and Girl Scout leader for a time all while having another baby to care for. She loved to embroider by hand and basically taught herself how to machine sew and follow a pattern making many outfits and dresses for her girls and later began making quilts. She eventually divorced and became a single parent to her children and worked very hard to make ends meet. She had several jobs throughout the years including Sears and Roebuck Company and Missouri Flag and Banner and in later years she managed various nightclubs throughout the metropolitan area. She later met and married Ronald Nelson and moved to Hardin, Missouri for many years until finally settling in Richmond, Missouri.
JoAnn was a kind, loving, gentle soul who loved nature and animals of all kinds, especially birds and butterflies. She also enjoyed gardening, reading a good book, and spending quality time with her family but more than anything she loved the Lord.
JoAnn was preceded in death by her parents, Ed and Josephine Wheeler; two brothers, Jackie (Patsy) Wheeler, Floyd Raymond Wheeler; one sister, Bernice (Leon) Braden; daughter, Rhonda Ann Johnson; grandchild, Wesley Gayle Ward, and her dog Bentley. She is survived by her husband Ronald Nelson of the home; four daughters, Guylene Ferrin, Angie (Mike) Ladd, Holly Johnson, and Danna Johnson; two sons Scott (Lori) Johnson and Steve (Jessica) Johnson; two step daughters; Charis Lancaster and Nikki Nelson; 14 grandchildren; 15 great grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and friends.
A Graveside Service will be 11:00 a.m. Monday, April 24, 2023 at Missouri Veterans Cemetery, Higginsville, Missouri.