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JoAnn S. McCracken passed away at her home in Overland Park, Kansas on Saturday, August 15, 2020. She was surrounded by her immediate family: her son Mark, daughter Mickey, granddaughter Kate, and great-granddog Bruce, all of whom were grateful to be there with her in her final hours.
Born to Henry and Elsie Streng on November 21, 1930 in Marysville, Ohio, JoAnn was raised in a proudly German family. Along with her sister Mary, she grew up on a dairy farm. A conversationalist from the start, her father sent her out of the barn as a child, telling her that her talking made the cows too riled up to be milked. JoAnn was preceded in death by her beloved husband Thomas K. McCracken, whom she wed in 1949. Tom worked as a finance manager for Sperry New Holland farm equipment, a job that took the family from Ohio to Canada, Colorado, and eventually Kansas.
JoAnn was the definition of a matriarch and caregiver. A picture of health until her final months, she nursed and cared for each member of her family through many illnesses and surgeries—small and large, long and short. She was an excellent cook and loved having her family around the table for any meal or occasion, and was always willing to welcome their friends and loved ones as well. Playing Euchre was a favorite family activity, and JoAnn was an enthusiastic (if somewhat reckless) player. Throughout her life, she was bold, fearless, and willing to try anything: from sneaking into a private teacher’s convention with Mickey in order to see Kate’s choir perform, to riding Mark’s motorcycle, to sailing in the Chesapeake Bay with Tom. Quick-witted and a bit sassy, she kept her sharp sense of humor until the end; when asked by a nurse if she knew who the president was she replied, “yes, but I don’t like him.” She loved shopping, ice cream, and swimming. The only member of the family who wasn’t highly carnivorous, she could always be tempted with a Winstead’s hamburger.
When Kate was thirty, she got her first tattoos, which drove Mickey crazy. When she asked JoAnn if she hated them too, she replied, “I think they’re stupid. But I love you anyway.” And that more than anything is what her family will remember her for: her unconditional and absolute love, and her willingness to always show it.
Johnson County Memorial Gardens
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