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JoAnn Martin, 43

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JoAnn Martin, 43, of Somerset, N.J., formerly of Spooner, Wis., passed away on Sept. 12, at Peggy Coloney's Center for Hope Hospice & Palliative Care facility in Scotch Plains, N.J.

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She was born in St. Paul, and resided in Wisconsin for virtually her entire life before relocating to Somerset, N.J., last year. JoAnn grew up in Reeve, near Clear Lake, Wis., and graduated valedictorian from Clear Lake High School, Class of 1988. In 1993, JoAnn earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in teaching from UW-Superior. JoAnn's true passion in life was teaching and she began her career at Blue Earth High School in Blue Earth, Minn., for one year. From 1995-2000, she taught English for Spooner High School. In 1999, she earned her Master of Arts degree, also in English. From 2000-2006, she taught English for Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Rice Lake, Wis. In 2005, while teaching at WITC, JoAnn earned the National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD) Award for Teaching Excellence, an award honoring teaching and leadership excellence in institutions of higher education. JoAnn's passion was teaching real-life communication skills to adult learners and students of English as a Second Language. Most recently, she worked at INT Technologies before her medical retirement to courageously battle Ovarian Cancer. Ever the teacher, JoAnn's legacy lives on as she shares her Cancer Journey in a public video (youtube.com), explaining the symptoms of ovarian cancer and why research and early detection are key.

In 1999, JoAnn met the love of her life, Andrew Licata, and they married in 2000. While JoAnn and Andrew did not have children, JoAnn loved and guided hundreds of teenagers through her teaching and advising. In 2006, JoAnn and Andrew purchased two businesses in Spooner: Kegler's Pub & Pin and Black Iris Gallery and Frame Shop. They enjoyed youth bowling leagues the most, and gave away thousands of lanes of bowling for kids with top grades. JoAnn's legacy in the Spooner arts scene lives on in many ways, in the hundreds of pieces of art she meticulously framed, to the many art shows she hosted, and in the enduring arts section, The Gallery, in the Spooner Advocate, begun a few years ago when JoAnn pointed out the need for arts information in her local newspaper. In 2012, they sold their businesses and moved to New Jersey, where her husband grew up. JoAnn's ability to teach, influence, and touch people with her knowledge and warm spirit was remarkable, and she made loyal friends wherever she lived. JoAnn willingly shared her cancer journey, her organic, vegan cooking recipes, and chemical-free lifestyle with everyone she met.

JoAnn was an active member of Grace Episcopal Church in Rice Lake, Wis. JoAnn enjoyed reading classic and modern literature, hiking, biking, scuba diving, and traveling, both domestically and abroad. JoAnn especially enjoyed spending time with beloved family and friends, making great efforts to do so in her final months.

She was preceded in death by her maternal grandmother, JoAnn (Franssens) Martin; her maternal grandfather, Robert (Bun) Martin and her maternal aunt, PattyJo (Martin) Bautch.

She is survived by her husband, Andrew E. Licata and beloved canine friend, Romeo, of Somerset; her parents, CharLeen and David Johnson of Clear Lake; her identical twin sister Adele (Dee) Martin, and niece, CaraLyn Martin-Senn of La Crosse, Wis.; her sister, LeeAnn Johnson of Apple Valley, Minn.; her uncle David Bautch and cousin, Donna Mae Bautch of Lake City, Minn.. She is also survived by nieces and nephew Beka, Megan, Joey, Tia, and Cassidy; and very special Honorary Sisters: Jenny Hall of Pine City, Minn., Sally Dittloff of Rice Lake, Wis., Lynnette Emmanual of Rice Lake, Amanda Frelke of Darien, Wis., Laurie Gargulak of Rice Lake, Cheryl Groat of Minong, Wis., Leila Jenkins of Shell Lake, Wis., Jean Martin, Longwood, Fla., Karla Mortensen of Ames, Iowa, Jenn Roos of Fergus Falls, Minn., Valerie Vee of Andover, Minn.; and Honorary Mum, Linda Pfaff of La Crosse. She is survived by many more aunts; uncles; cousins; and friends.

Visitation is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at Grace Episcopal Church, 119 W. Humbird St., Rice Lake. Funeral Mass 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21, with a visitation from 9-10 a.m.

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