JoAnne Fisher

JoAnne Rae Vail Fisher at age 78 passed away suddenly in the early morning hours on April 3, 2019. She was recovering from lower back surgery. She is in a better place, no longer living with the pain she endured day in and day out. She is missed, but will never be forgotten. Her smile, little chuckle, and good humor live on. She touched so many lives, in so many ways.
JoAnne was born in the family farmhouse near Bowman, North Dakota to her parents Ray (Jack) Harry Vail and Bernice Alta Bennet on July 18, 1940. She joined the family with brothers Larry and Lanny. Growing up, she always had farm chores to do and worked hard with her mother cooking and cleaning.
High School was where she first met Jerry Fisher who was destined to be her lifelong partner for just shy of 59 years. After high school, JoAnne moved to Fargo, North Dakota to attended business school and to be close to Jerry who was enrolled at North Dakota State University, Fargo. The two were Engaged in October of 1959 and married soon after in May of 1960. Before Jerry graduated in 1963, JoAnne received her PHT (Putting Hubby Through) degree. With the North Dakota summers being so hot and the winters bitter cold, Jerry set his sights on finding a job in Southern California.
In June 1963 they moved to Oxnard, California sight unseen. Her oldest son, Jeffrey Alan was born in October of 1964. They moved to Camarillo in April 1965 and have lived there ever since.
Four years later, Jonathan Ray came along in September of 1969. JoAnne did a great job of keeping her boys, all three of them, on track. JoAnne was an active member of her church. She enjoyed organizing cookbook projects, helping plan the Annual Strawberry Festival, and teaching Sunday School classes.
JoAnne was a stay-at-home mom until the boys got older. She went back to work at EF Hutton, a small stock brokerage office, in Camarillo and then spent the next 20 years working at several of the stock brokerages in the area as a broker’s assistant. She took many of the younger girls in the office under her wing, some even called her “Mama Jo”.
Her house was always in order. She took pride in how she dressed, how her hair looked, and always had fresh makeup on even when she was in the hospital. She loved unusual pieces of jewelry that she called her “precious metal fund”. JoAnne could always be found in her kitchen baking and cooking. She was known for her fresh baked bread, cookies, pies, and decorated cakes but mostly for her Sticky Buns.
Christmas always held a special place in JoAnne’s heart. For more than 50 years she mailed out over a hundred Christmas cards that always included a letter recapping the year’s events and adventures. There were decorations inside and out. Every year she baked and decorated dozens and dozens of cookies with many of them given away to family and friends.
JoAnne was proud of her two sons. Both found wonderful mates. Jonathan and Arminda gave her two grandchildren, Fiona (11) and Nathan (9). JoAnne wanted to be called “Grammy” but Fiona decided otherwise. Every time Fiona tried to say “Grammy” it would come out “Mimi”.
Jeffrey and Rosemarie have a wonderful (step)daughter Denise. Denise and her husband, Simon, recently became parents to a beautiful baby boy. Mimi was a sweet and generous grandmother and would have been a magnificent great grandmother.
Retirement started in August 2001. She and Jerry lived out one of their retirement dreams, traveling the country together in their RV. They were able to see the lower 48, travelled over 145,000 miles, visiting friends along the way.
Health issues and surgeries slowed her down but never dimmed her spirit. She researched many of her afflictions keeping the doctors on their toes. Cooking and baking remained a favorite past-time of JoAnne’s. She so enjoyed looking for and trying new recipes.
She is survived by her husband, Jerry, her two sons, Jeffrey and Jonathan, and their families. Her brothers and wives, Larry and Barbara Vail in Rapid City, South Dakota and Lanny and Carol Vail in Bowman, North Dakota.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to American Cancer or American Heart Associations. JoAnne had experience with both conditions. There will be a memorial celebration of her life on Saturday, May 18 at 11:00 am at the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Camarillo. A light lunch will be served following the service.

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