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1950 Joan 2022

Joan Perkins

December 22, 1950 — June 25, 2022

Orem, Utah

JoAn Paulla Fisher Perkins


Orem, Utah

JoAn Paulla Fisher Perkins passed away in the evening of June 25th, 2022. She was the eldest of four daughters and first child from the union of John Paul and Margaret Louise Fisher. JoAn was born on December 22, 1950, in Rockford, Illinois, but had no memories of her life there. The young Fisher family soon relocated to Southern California where her father got a job with Aerojet-General. They settled in West Covina, a suburb of Los Angeles, where Jo grew up.  She enjoyed the benefits of the warm California lifestyle: pool in the backyard, attending a Dodgers baseball game, etc. In high school, JoAn caught the acting bug and became a key player in several high school dramas - earning her a scholarship to a college out-of-state. However, she was more interested in the process of acting and putting on performances than becoming a Hollywood star. This interest gave her opportunities like seeing behind the scenes preparation of a Broadway play starring Ethel Merman, being on site during the filming of an Elvis Presley movie and attending a pre-release screening of the uncut version of “The Exorcist.”

After graduating, JoAn stayed home and attended a nearby college. Then on June 10th, 1970, Jo’s mother suddenly passed away. Her mother had been only 50 years old, so it was a terrible shock.  JoAn remained to help her father and sisters and continued dating Donald Jenny, a young man she had known in high school. On July 7, 1971, JoAn and Don were married. They lived in nearby Temple city. There, JoAn discovered that, more than anything, she loved babies and taking care of her own children. By 1977, JoAn and Don had three children and one more on the way. However, several incidents made Jo and Don feel that Southern California was becoming a dangerous place for families. On the advice of a beloved high school teacher, they decided to move to Logan, Utah.

In Logan, with children nearing school age, Jo found the federal Head Start program.  She quickly became involved - first as a parent and then at the management level. She was even selected to attend Head Start conferences in Washington D.C. and San Antonio. She spent the next 15 years being involved with Head Start in one capacity or another. However, her marriage to Don began to disintegrate. After ten years of marriage, she and Don divorced. As a single mom, Jo took a job managing a dentist’s office and still was able to take care of 5 children.

Her family dog brought JoAn and Thane Perkins together the first time. Stephen King books and a common interest in movies kept them seeing each other. Soon, they were spending a great deal of time together. Not only did they fall in love with each other, Thane also fell in love with her 5 children. JoAn married Thane on August 7th, 1982. Thane had a new job in Utah Valley, so they all moved south. In addition to being involved with Head Start, JoAn learned that several of her children had various learning disabilities. Out of necessity, she investigated methods for helping her children manage their difficulties in school as well as negotiating with the school district to get the help her children needed. She became a local expert and eventually began to advise other families on how they could also get the school district to provide similar help.

Over the next 10 years, JoAn added 6 more children to their family. In 1991, JoAn and her family moved into the home where she has resided for the last 30+ years. Jo loved movies and movie trivia. She and her family watched the Oscars every year (once while she was in the hospital). She also enjoyed going to local dramatic productions, was a voracious reader, and loved to discuss conspiracy theories. JoAn was a true matriarch; but ruled her large clan with a wonderful sense of humor. Many of her children often remarked that JoAn was their best friend. Jo’s greatest joy was being with her family, her children and grandchildren. She celebrated most of the holidays throughout the year, but she especially enjoyed Christmas. From Thanksgiving through New Year, she loved the warmth and closeness of family during this season.

JoAn is survived by her husband Thane and their eleven children: Macryan (Doranna), Michael, Samantha, Ame (Tracy), Devin (Heidi), Kellan (Jermy), Birchall, Caitlin (Bob), Duncan, Ian, and Hanna (Kyle). She is also survived by her younger sisters, Denise, Lori, and Meri. She has 19 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.

A Celebration of Life for JoAn will be held on July 30th, 2022, from 6-8 p.m. at the Orem City Center Park South Pavilion at 300 East Center St., Orem, UT.

Condolences for the family may be expressed on this page.

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Starts at 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

Orem City Center Park

, Vineyard, UT 84058

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