Jo Ann Clemens

March 11, 1941April 21, 2019

Jo Ann Clemens (nee Russell) of Wilmette was born in Watseka, Illinois, on March 11, 1941, to Lucy Anna Fleming (nee Pallissard) and John Bartlett Russell. Jo Ann grew up with her older brother, Michael Bartlett Russell, and younger sister, Elizabeth Fleming Weber. They lived in the family home on Jefferson Avenue in Watseka, with mother Lucy Anna and step-father Milo Joseph Fleming, where she learned and loved playing the piano.

She attended school in Watseka and was a 1959 graduate of Watseka Community High School where she was in band, chorus, dramatic club, and served as class treasurer. She then studied music at Illinois Wesleyan.

As a young woman, Jo Ann lived in Chicago where she worked as a model and photographer's assistant. It was while working for an advertising photographer that she met James Edward Clemens. They married in 1968 in Watseka.

Jo Ann and James had two children, Danielle Aimée and Justin MacArthur, who were raised in Wilmette.

Jo Ann was an accomplished pianist, active in her children's school PTA -- where she played the piano in many school productions, worked for several decades for Evanston Hospital, enjoyed antiquing and collecting beautiful objects, cherished her time visiting the Chicago Botanic Garden and arranging flowers at home, and loved to cook and travel with her family.

Jo Ann is adored by her family and will be missed more than words can express.

Survivors include her husband James, daughter Danielle, son Justin, son-in-law Gökhan Ersan, grandchild Aidan Ersan, sister Elizabeth Weber, brother Michael Russell, sister-in-law Lynette Russell, nieces Debra Russell Olson, Jacqueline Russell, and Melissa Morrow, nephew Michael Weber, and several great-nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, tribute donations may be made to Chicago Botanic Garden ( OR to Random Acts of Flowers (


  • Visitation Friday, April 26, 2019
  • Graveside Service Saturday, April 27, 2019


Jo Ann Clemens

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Richele Sabbara

April 24, 2019

Till we meet again...Thank You for the memories. We have known each other for 18 years and I can say the happiest were after you welcomed your grandson. My how you love to share stories about the adventures. You were the first to welcome me and trained me in my position at Evanston Hospital, you did a good job because I'm still here. You are missed and thought of often. The wripples of your touch will continue on. Peace be yours and peace find your family soon.