JoAnne “JoJo” or “Gramma JoJo” (nee Walby) Reitz, 75 of Bismarck, North Dakota, suffered a massive heart attack and passed away a short time later, being pronounced deceased at CHI St. Alexius Health Medical Center, Bismarck, on Friday April 5, 2019.
Mass of Christian Burial for JoAnne will be on Thursday April 11, 2019 at 10:30am at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Scranton, ND. Fr. Charles Zins will celebrate the Mass. There will be a Rosary and Vigil Service on Wednesday April 10, 2019, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Scranton beginning at 7:00pm. Burial in a private ceremony will be in the Walby family plot at the Hettinger Cemetery, Hettinger, ND, at a later date to be determined by the family.
Krebsbach and Kulseth Funeral Services of Bowman, ND, is in charge of the arrangements.www.krebsbachfuneralservice.com/
JoAnne was born on March 8, 1944, in Miles City, Montana, to Clifford Benjamin Walby and Marjorie May (nee Gehrki) Walby, where the family was living while Cliff was a transport driver in the service. Later that same year the family moved back to Hettinger after the 1944 flood in Miles City, in which they lost all their belongings.
JoJo attended elementary and high school in Hettinger, and as a cheerleader for the Hettinger Black Devils, she met an athlete playing with competing team – ironically – the New England St. Mary Saints, Curtiss (Curt) Reitz of Ralph, South Dakota. They continued to date through her graduation from high school and were married in August of that year (1962) at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hettinger. Curt was attending college at the time, so they moved to Carroll College in Helena, MT, where their first son Robert was born. They relocated to Vermillion, SD, and while there, second son Jonathan was born in Yankton. After finishing college in Vermillion, they moved back to Ralph where they helped on the farm. There they made their home and raised their young family – with the youngest children Trish, Damon and Tammy being born in Hettinger – until they bought the Bell Ranch just northwest of Ralph in 1971 and continued to raise their family there. In 1977, they began sending their children to New England St. Mary’s, and after the graduation of their last child, they parted.
JoJo remained in New England and worked at the New England Credit Union until 2001 when she moved to Bismarck to be closer to family and began working at the Prairie Knights Casino, Fort Yates, ND, where she worked in guest services until she retired in 2014.
Whether in Ralph, New England, Bismarck or at Prairie Knights, or traveling to visit children and grandchildren and attend the events of life – especially sporting events – JoJo was a dynamic and engaging personality (and sometimes the most “discernable” voice at those events). She seemingly easily made friends and became family with anyone she met.
JoJo is pre-deceased by her parents Cliff and Margie; sister Betty (Bruce) Rorvig; and former spouse Curt Reitz. She is survived by her children Robert; Jonathan and Stacy (Johnson) Reitz and children Cody (Christina Morales and son Eric), Logan, Matthew and Connor; Patricia and Jim Jeske and children Hannah, James and Thomas; Damon and Paula (Germann) and their children Dalton and Kaitlin; Tammera and David Los and their children Alexis, Charles and Henry; brother Gene and Maxine (Anderson) and children DeeAnn, Steven, and Scott; Brother-in-Law Bruce (Betty) Rorvig and child Timothy;Skip and Ann (Messmer) and children Todd, Scott Bruce, Daniel, Jason and Eric; and many cousins, other relatives and friends too many to name. She will be sorely missed by family and friends alike. Memorials are suggested to the American Heart Association or that of the donors choice.