Joann Lou Ivanoff
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Surrounded by members of her family, Joann Lou Ivanoff passed peacefully in her sleep on Thursday January 19th, 2023. In keeping with her long-held tradition of rarely acting her age, Joann used one of her final breathless sentences during the last hours of her life to lighten the mood in the room by making a good-hearted wise-crack at the expense of one of her hospice nurses. Everyone chuckled, especially her nurse. Joann was 93.
Born Joann Lou Bagby on July 3, 1929, she originally hailed from Casper, Wyoming. Joann was a high school cheerleader, an exceptional vocalist and an honor student at Natrona County High School where she graduated in 1947. After attending Casper Junior College while working at Northern Utilities Gas Company, she wed her life partner, Fabien E. Ivanoff in 1949. Had young Joann known what she was in for with said Ivanoff (especially in light of their nine progeny to follow), she might have better focused her college studies on accounting, logistics and especially, psychology.
The Ivanoffs began their 69-year marital odyssey by exchanging vows at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Casper. In keeping with their faith, the couple was profoundly prolific and found themselves blessed with nine children: five girls and four boys. While the size of their brood routinely stretched a constrained budget, Joann greeted each new child as yet another new soul to love. She reminisced that some of her favorite memories were midnight feedings with newborns when she could focus her love, exclusively and uninterrupted, on just that one child. While no one would mistake any of the Ivanoff kids as being privileged, Joann took great pride in knowing that her children were always "fed, clothed and clean" and whether Joann realized it or not, deeply imbued with the work-ethic she embodied.
Joann was on the job 24x7 running the household while Fabien executed a career as a Project Manager and Engineer at the FMC Corporation. Little did his employers at FMC know that he was being vicariously trained on the finer points of project management watching his wife orchestrate the workings of the household at 141 Chase Street. Household chores were delegated masterfully and woe to the child who complained about being "bored" as he/she quickly found a job that needed his/her immediate attention.
Her daughters fondly remember their mother making new dresses for them every Easter and the boys reminisce about Joann's amazingly decadent, homemade desserts. In addition to whatever talents each might credit to her, the boys unanimously agreed, "That lady could bake!" Joann always made Christmas a special time for the Ivanoff children. They recall one special Christmas when Joann made sure each of her nine children had $10 to buy small gifts for his/her eight siblings and for each parent. While trivial in comparison to the bounty today's youth enjoy, her children remember that as the most amazing Christmas ever as it shifted the entire family's focus on giving rather than receiving. She was good at that sort of thing.
Joann had a zest for life and once her ninth child was off to college, began pursuing interests that she had previously placed on hold for decades. She took up snow skiing at age 55 and began riding a dirt bike a year later. She gave up those sports at age 65 after taking a few nasty falls while attempting, as she said, "...to catch some air!" Upon realizing that she might be better suited to more cerebral interests, Joann turned her attention to her own college education and working career. A voracious reader her entire life, Joann began taking courses at Idaho State University, focusing her studies on the humanities, where she earned a string of straight As. If only the NIL rules had been in place in those years, Joann would have enjoyed a wonderful collegiate career as the AARP posterchild for college-bound senior citizens.
Joann enjoyed living close to the university and was especially fond of frequenting ISU's Performing Arts Center. Joann worked at the Pocatello Teachers' Credit Union and used her earnings to finance special treats for her family as well as those in need within the Pocatello community. Joann was equally selfless with her free time and served as a volunteer worker for St. Vincent's Thrift Store for over 25 years. Most recently she loved performing with Pocatello's Silver Chords senior choir group.
It was important to Joann that each of her nine children graduated from high school. Upon graduation, some of her children focused their efforts on the working world or toward rearing families of their own. Others went on to college and have collectively earned five bachelor's degrees and four master's degrees. Whether artists, homemakers, entrepreneurs, executives, administrative workers, tradesmen/women, technologists, educators or some combination of many of those, all are independent thinkers and contributing members to society - something that Joann cared deeply about and fostered by example. She described her children as "her legacy" and she took pride in the people they became.
She is preceded in death by her beloved husband of 69 years, Fabien Eugene Ivanoff, her two older brothers Robert Bagby and William Bagby, her granddaughter, Darcy Lynn Driever and her grandson, Gabriel Adam Busby. She is survived by her cherished sister, Marinell Skretterberg and her nine children: David Eugene (and Kathy) Ivanoff of Salem, OR, Mary Jan (and Michael) Harwood of Pocatello, ID, Julie Ann Vanek of Pocatello, ID, Barbara Lee (and Douglas) Driever of Salmon, ID, Daniel James (and Laurie) Ivanoff of Seattle, WA, Laurie Ellen (and Matthew) McCandless of Boise, ID, Maureen Joyce (and Gregg) Ivanoff-McCandless of Inkom, ID, Kent Fabien (and Robin) Ivanoff of Boise, ID and Vince Robert Ivanoff of Chandler, AZ. She was the grandmother to 16 surviving grandchildren and at the time of this writing, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild ? all of whom referred to Joann as "Granny" with their deepest affections.
The family wishes to thank her physician, Dr. Lavonne Mills, the staff at Copper Summit and her Heritage Hospice nurse, Shay, all of whom took such wonderful care of Joann in her final stage of life. Funeral services include a funeral Mass at St. Anthony's Catholic Church, 524 N. 7th Ave. in Pocatello on Wednesday, Feb 1 at 1:00 pm followed by a graveside service at Mountain View Cemetery at 2:00 pm on Thursday, Feb 2.
Condolences may be made at www.wilkscolonialchapel.com