TAYLORSVILLE, Utah – Joanna, loving wife of Jim Houston, left us on December 6, smiling in the face of early-onset Alzheimer’s to the end.
She was born Joanna Lyn Carleton on March 14, 1956, in Springfield Vt., the second child and oldest daughter of Donald Herbert Carleton and Neoma Lynn (Bowen) Carleton.
From an early age, JoJo’s great sense of humor and quick wit meant there was usually a lot of laughter and giggling wherever she might be. She was caring and empathetic, but she definitely “did not suffer fools gladly!” Even in her final weeks she was still laughing and making people smile.
Growing up in Colchester Vt., she attended Colchester schools and graduated from Essex Junction High School in June of 1974. Always a hard worker, she babysat and worked various part-time and summer jobs, during and after high school.
Jo also grew up playing the piano, which she played quite well, and continued until Alzheimer’s took her ability away from her. She still loved listening to music and her taste ran from Barbra Streisand to Bon Jovi and Korn. There might have been a few show tunes in there, too. JoJo was also a skilled knitter, making beautiful sweaters, hats, scarves, and afghans that were much appreciated by the recipients, young and old.
JoJo moved to Incline Village, Nev., in 1977, where she was an au pair for infant twins, and later to Reno Nev., where she shifted into administrative work for businesses including First American Title and finally the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department.
Joanna first married Thomas Lee Bracamonte on August 18, 1984, in Incline Village Nev., adopting a son, Timothy Joseph, in 1989. They divorced in 2007.
She moved back to Vermont in 2007, where she married James Dennis Houston on November 3, 2007, in Walden. Jo and Jim lived on the family farm in Cabot, tending cows and haying. She also became an assistant city clerk in Barre, forced by early-onset Alzheimer’s into retiring in 2016 at age 60 (too young!) until they moved to their final home in Walden.
In September of 2022, Jo and Jim decided that she should be moved to a memory care facility in Taylorsville to be closer to her mom and her other family members in Utah.
Joanna and Jim continued to video chat several times a week after she moved, staying in touch as best they could until the day before she passed.
Joanna is survived by her devoted husband Jim; son Tim Bracamonte and grandson Sylas, of Vacaville, Calif., mother, Neoma Clugage of Taylorsville, siblings Andy (Debbie) Carleton of Taylorsville, Linda Blair of Clermont, Fla., and Joyce Carleton of Taylorsville, stepdaughters Sheila Brown of Barre, Vt., Stephanie (Patrick) Moulton of Hardwick, Vt., and Angela Houston of Morrisville, Vt.; stepsons Jeffrey (Christine) Houston of South Ryegate, Vt., and Todd Houston of Barre, Vt.; nieces and nephews, hundreds of friends, dozens of cousins, and all of her grandchildren, whom she loved dearly.
We would like to thank Trenaisa Nay, NP, and Sasha, along with Jo’s hospice nurse, Veronica, and the staff of Canyon Home Care and Hospice for making our family and JoJo as comfortable as possible in her final days. Their professionalism and caring attitudes helped us all through a very difficult time.
Per Joanna’s wishes there will be no service. She will be cremated and her ashes interred at the Durant Cemetery in Lower Cabot, Vt. Feel free to toast her memory with anything made with Baileys Irish Cream! She’d like that, we think.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you donate to Alzheimer’s research. The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (alzdiscovery.org) seems like a good one.