Jo Lavigne, of Little Canada, died Tuesday, July 9, at her home at the age of 82.
Jo was born in Iowa City, Iowa, May 22, 1931. She grew up on a farm in Anthon, Iowa and attended country school until eighth grade. Jo attended Anthon High School and graduated in 1949. She participated in chorus, student council, and enjoyed playing field hockey and basketball. Her senior year she was honored as homecoming queen. Jo also enjoyed showing her prize-winning calf at the county fair.
After graduation, she attended Wayne State College in Nebraska and later transferred to Iowa State Teachers College and received a degree in Physical Education. Her first physical education teaching position was in Algona, Iowa at the high school. Later that year on a blind date, she was introduced to her New York “Prince Charming,” John Lavigne. They were married six months later.
John was employed as a sales manager for Algona Buick. In 1954, their son, Michael was born and passed away three days later at the Mason City Hospital. In 1956, Patti was born. They moved to Rush City in 1957 and bought the Culligan Soft Water dealership. Daughter Shelly arrived in 1958 and Julie in 1961. John owned the Culligan dealership for 30 years and his son Jack was instrumental in the dealership growth.
Jo taught Rush City High School Physical Education and formed the gymnastics program at the school. She was active in the RC summer recreation program and also started the city’s first Girl Scout Troop. She enjoyed all sports, playing on her Culligan bowling team, and spending time with her sewing club friends.
After retirement, Jo and John moved to the White Bear Lake area. They spent 25 years wintering in St. Petersburg, Fla. Year round they enjoyed spending time with their grandchildren Brooke, Carly, Chris, Chase, and Paige while watching all of their sporting events and musical performances.
Everyone who met Jo was happy to know her and was touched by her kindness and beautiful smile. We look forward to the day we will meet her again.
Services will be held July 17 at North Heights Lutheran Church, 1700 Highway 96, Arden Hills, 55112. Visitation is 1 to 2 p.m.; service are 2 to 3 p.m. with refreshments to follow.
Thank you for your love, support, and prayers during this difficult time — it means a lot to us!