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On the evening of Sept. 9, 2016, Jo Ann (Daigler) Hasselbeck passed away unexpectedly in Portland, Maine. She was with the love of her life and husband of 64 years, Eugene, and members of her family when she passed. Jo Ann was to turn 89 years young this month and lived an amazingly abundant life of faith, hope and love! All who knew Jo Ann were blessed by her kindness, joy and unrelenting optimism.
Jo Ann was born Sept. 28, 1927, in Buffalo, New York, the second child of Irene and William Daigler. She is survived by a large and blessed family, including her husband, Gene Hasselbeck; and children, Amy and Gary, Todd and Barbara, Laurie Jo and Stanley, and Jon and Yolande. Her 14 loving grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; three nieces; and three great-nephews, were incredibly close to her.
Jo Ann grew up in Buffalo, where her father owned and operated a grocery store and meat market. A pioneer in his day, her father moved to the "wilderness" of Grand Island when Jo Ann was in elementary school. She went on to graduate from Bennett High School and the University at Buffalo where she qualified as a physical education teacher. A favorite gym teacher in the Grand Island schools, she retired after 19 years to care for her mother. Jo Ann came out of retirement to assist her husband at his construction company, bringing life and joy as that business was revitalized.
When Jo Ann and Gene retired, they spent most of the year on Sanibel Island, Florida, where they are active members of Sanibel Community Church. They spent summers on Grand Island - in the very home they built and loved shortly after their marriage. They were members of Trinity United Methodist Church, and Jo Ann served as a Girl Scout leader while in her 60s to support a lifelong friend. When their son, Jon, planted a new church, they joined NorthGate Christian Community in Williamsville to support his new ministry.
Jo Ann loved everything and everybody! People, babies, dogs, horses, food, art, flowers and especially chocolate! A loyal friend, ardent encourager, gracious hostess, great listener, avid tennis player and skier, amazing cook, creative artist, faithful friend to the sick, and fudge maker to those studying for tests.
The world is a much brighter place for the life of Jo Ann Hasselbeck and heaven is a richer place today!
Visitation will be Friday, Sept. 16, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Kaiser Funeral Home, 1950 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 17, at 10 a.m. at NorthGate Christian Community Church, 5225 Harris Hill Road, Williamsville.