JoAnn Kaye “Jody” Gassman, 74, of Dubuque, died Wednesday, Sept 13, 2023, at Stonehill Care Center after battling dementia and congestive heart failure. Per her wishes, there will be no services. She will be laid to rest with her parents, Henry and Helen Pfeiffer, in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Dubuque. The Tri-State Cremation Center is humbly serving JoAnn’s family.
JoAnn was born May 1, 1949, in an elevator at Mercy Hospital, Dubuque. She weighed less than 2 lbs. and had a severe cleft lip and palate. She was a fighter and survived and thrived at a time when most premature babies did not.
JoAnn grew up in the Flats and then on Pinard Street. She attended Holy Ghost and Wahlert High School. In 1970, she married Terry Gassman, and they had two children before divorcing.
JoAnn stayed at home and took care of her children while they were young. Later, she held various jobs, including at Steve’s Ace Hardware on Kennedy Road, Mercy Hospital cafeteria and lastly at Hy-Vee bakery in Asbury.
She endured and overcame many health struggles before moving to Stonehill in February 2019. Her memory failed, but her personality remained. She was kind and appreciative to everyone who visited her or cared for her, even when she didn’t remember who they were.
She is survived by her children, James Jon Gassman and Julie Ann (Aaron) Weldin; her grandchildren, Tyler James (Nathan Wright) Kemp, of Carrollton, Texas, Shannon Jon Kemp, Emma Jane Weldin and Samuel James Gassman, all of Dubuque; her big brother Dennis Pfeiffer and his sweet and kind wife, Kay; their children, whom she loved like her own, Doug (Lizzie) Pfeiffer, and her goddaughter, Jennifer (Jeff) Weber; her Besler nieces and nephews, whom she thought of and loved as siblings, Dale Besler, Lois (Dan) Schultz, Steven (Vicki) Besler, Craig (Karla) Besler and Vicki Besler.
She was preceded in death by her much loved and sorely missed Mom and Dad, Henry and Helen Pfeiffer; her sister and brother-in-law, Geri and Jake Besler, who were a second set of parents to her. She wouldn’t have made it without them. And by their son Ricky, who died in infancy.
Thank you to everyone who helped our family along the way: The Roger and Barb Schueller family, the Larry and Rose Abresch family, the Tom and Ruth Abresch family and the Jim and Carol Henkel family. Thank you to all her friends she met through church and at work. She loved you all. Thank you to the staff at Stonehill and Hospice of Dubuque. We truly appreciate the love and care you gave her.
Our Mom/Grandma was the best, and we didn’t tell her that nearly enough. She was loving, generous, a little quirky and a lot stubborn. She did the best she could with what she had. She would do anything for her family and friends, always putting her needs last, especially when it came to her kids and grandkids. She would sing us to sleep at night when we were little. She loved and spoiled her grandkids to a fault.
She loved pizza, Lays potato chips, ice cream, tapioca pudding and candy bars. She disliked the color brown, hated having her picture taken and was terrified of mice. She preferred to be barefoot, even when she drove. If she called or referred to you as “lady,” it wasn’t a compliment. She made the best goulash, pork chops and mulligan stew. You never left her house hungry or with empty arms.
If you want to honor our Mom’s memory, take your little ones out for ice cream or buy a book and read it to them.
JoAnn asked Jesus to come into her heart and be her Lord and Saviour on February 16, 1979. We know she is safe in His arms in Heaven.
“Mom, you finally made it home.”
Online condolences may be shared with JoAnn’s family at www.tristatecremationcenter.com
Per her wishes, there will be no services. She will be laid to rest with her parents, Henry and Helen Pfeiffer, in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Dubuque.