M. Joanne Gorman died peacefully at Presence St. Anne’s Center on September 10th, 2018 in Rockford, IL at the age of...oops, she wouldn't want to say…
Joanne is survived by her children Maureen (Alan) of Palo Alto, CA, Mark (Nancie) of Lake Forest, IL, Tom of Sedona, AZ and Anne-Marie (Patrick) of Albany, NY, and beloved grandchildren Madeleine, Sophie, Ronan, Keelin, Nikolai, Edmund, Isabelle, Ava and Aidan and great grandchild Declan. She is predeceased by the love of her life, John William Gorman, her mother, Marie Powers Ollman, and her aunt, Elizabeth (Bess) Powers.
Joanne was born in Rockford in the 20th century, and grew up in St. Peter's Parish. She attended Muldoon High School, where she began dating John, who attended St. Thomas. After what could NOT be called a whirlwind romance, they married in 1955. Maureen, Mark, Tom and Anne-Marie were born in the following years.
A tiger mother before the term had been coined, Joanne loved fiercely; there was never ANY doubt in her children’s minds. She stayed home until Anne started kindergarten, and then went back to work full time, teaching Special Ed in Private and Parochial for the Rockford Public School District. At the same time, she attended school at night and received a Master’s Degree in Special Education - quite a feat when working full time and raising four children.
She was an amazing teacher, always full of joyful stories about the kids she taught. Because Special Ed was not hugely developed in the early years, she made many of her own teaching tools, spending hours at home designing and constructing them, and we believe she changed many lives for the better. She taught for many years - longer than expected, as she was always a bit fuzzy about her age...
At one point in her early married life, she and John made the move to Freeport, to be closer to John's work at Microswitch. After less than a year, they moved back to Rockford, as Freeport was just too far away from the home, family and friends that they both loved.
John and Joanne were hugely fortunate in their friends; enough cannot be said about those people, far more than neighbors and colleagues, who have been like family. Their attention in the last few years in particular has been extraordinary, and we are endlessly grateful for their attention to our beloved mother.
While she was only with them a very short time, the nurses at St. Anthony Hospital, Presence St Anne’s, and OSF Hospice were outstanding, and we are grateful.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10:00am on Saturday, September 15th at the chapel at St. Anne’s Center. Visitation will be the hour before (9:00-10:00am). In lieu of flowers, donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, or OSF Hospice, would be greatly appreciated. Fitzgerald Funeral Home & Crematory assisted the family.