Jo Ann Shannon

Jo Ann Shannon passed away peacefully on August 27, 2022 at the age of 84 surrounded by her family. She was a loving wife, mother, grandma, great-grandma, loyal friend, and thoughtful listener.

Jo was born on March 2, 1938 to Evelyn and Harry Kosnar and raised in Clutier, Iowa before going to Iowa State University to study Child Development. While at Iowa State, she met and married the love of her life, veterinarian Don Shannon, in 1958. They have been married for 64 years. Jo and Don had a devoted partnership, where Jo worked alongside Don running operations for the veterinary clinics, in addition to raising four children: Sherry (Stephen) Boeding, Steve (Jennifer) Shannon, Cindy (Doug) Hagan, and Sue (Eric) Thomas. They also have a foreign exchange daughter, Gea Peute, from the Netherlands. Jo and Don were united in their strong Catholic faith, including attending mass, praying before meals, and praying each night before bed.

After leaving the nest, her children came back often with her 10 grandchildren, and eventually her 4 great-grandchildren. Jo loved nature and our national parks. She shared this love with her family by holding yearly gatherings at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado, for the better part of three decades. As a hobby photographer and world traveler, Jo completed her lifelong goal of traveling to all 50 states. Her camera rolls are filled with flowers, birds, deer, laughter, and smiles. Jo’s way of viewing the world can be best exemplified in her favorite song, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. She was a skilled seamstress and made many clothes for herself and her family over the years. Jo even made her wedding dress and then had to make it a second time after the first dress was destroyed in a house fire two weeks before the wedding.

In addition to her devotion to her family, Jo loved the community of Houghton. She served on the Houghton Town Council and the St. Paul Daughters of Isabella. Jo coordinated and organized the Southeast Iowa Veterinary Medical Association for many years. She organized the Houghton Bloodmobile for over 40 years. Jo played the organ in St. John’s Catholic Church for more Sundays than she could count; her family will continue to fondly remember her playing the organ for the Christmas Eve services. She gifted her organ playing income to youth in her community. Jo volunteered in the Fort Madison Community Hospital Gift Shop for many years. Her family and friends will remember her rosettes and peppermint cookies she made each holiday season.

Jo loved the youth of Iowa, working as a 4-H volunteer leader, serving as a school board member for Marquette High School, and crocheting hundreds of hand-made hats for newborn babies at the Ft. Madison Community Hospital.

Jo’s lifelong love of learning was demonstrated through her involvement with Book Club, Study Club, Art Club, and taking classes at Apple Stores. She loved sharing knowledge with others by mailing newspaper clippings to family and friends.

In addition to being business partners for over 60 years, Jo and Don spent time watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, playing Bridge, playing nightly games of FreeCell Solitaire, and watching educational programs on the Iowa PBS Network.

Jo was preceded in death by her parents, Evelyn and Harry Kosnar, and sister, Jean Miller. Jo is survived by her husband, Don, and their 4 children, 10 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, September 1, 2022 at St. John’s Catholic Church, Houghton, Iowa, with Reverend Dan Dorau as Celebrant. Following Mass, her family will greet friends at a luncheon at the Houghton Knights of Columbus Hall/Rural Life Center, Houghton. Per Jo’s wishes, her body has been donated to the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Burial will be at St. John’s Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to honor the legacy of Jo to Iowa PBS. This can be done online via the Iowa PBS website ( through the Memorial Gift section or checks can be mailed to: Iowa PBS Foundation, Attn: Memorial Gifts, P.O. Box 6400, Johnston, IA 50131-6400. Barr-Holtkamp Funeral Home is honored to serve the Shannon Family; an online guest book may be found at