Joann K. Gelin, age 87, of Joliet, (formally of Elwood, IL & North Fort Myers, FL) at rest on June 2, 2023. She is survived by her son Larry Gelin (Julie), granddaughters Lindsey Peiffer (Andrew), & Kylie Gelin-Reinberg (Ross), great-granddaughter, Skye Nichols. Also survived by her sister, Genevieve Singleton, "bonus daughter" Becki Gelin, dearest friend & also "bonus daughter" Stefanie Lewis Baran, sister-friends Mary Lou Dillman & Diane Wilhelmi, and her nephews. Preceded in death by her parents John Kletzke & Lottie Szymanski, long-time partner John Myers, her brother James Kletzke, and sister-friend Vanette Bray. Joann was "Mom," "Aunt," and "Grandma" to many.
They say, it's not the years in your life but rather the life in your years that matter in the end. So, to that, Grandma said "I'll take both." How do you put into words the true essence of a woman who lived and loved as loud as Gram did? Truthfully, you can't. We can tell you that she was an expert storyteller, bursting with laughter so loud it would fill a room. She had 87 birthdays, but somehow, she was only 30 years old, carefree & selfless, with a mouth that could make a sailor blush. She was stubborn as a mule, and an absolute firecracker with a big heart who loved her "people" fiercely. She could, and would, kick your ass if you crossed any single one of them. After retiring from Illinois Bell - AT&T after many years (She was known as Ma Bell, to many) She went on to own and operate Boz Hot Dogs for 35 years. She never hesitated to front you with a hotdog on the promise alone that one "day" you'd pay her back. We can tell you her favorite title was Grandma Hot dog, but she was a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister & friend. She was truly one of a kind. No matter how you decide to word it, or which points you choose to highlight, inevitably all of it will be grossly understated because what made her who she was is not something that can be articulated. You just had to be there. Some things are heavy, and some things are "heavier than a dead priest." We can't say for sure how heavy a dead priest is, but we are willing to bet you a hot dog & a shot of Amaretto that right now, our hearts are far heavier. As she makes her grand entrance & comes barreling through those pearly gates, we hope Jesus, Mary & Joseph are ready. But we laugh, as we realize, they won't be ready, because not even Jesus can prepare for a woman like that. To know her was to love her. And we sure will miss her down here.
Special thanks to Family Centered Hospice for their kindness, comfort, and care at the end of her journey in this chapter of her life.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joann's name may be directed to Family Centered Hospice.
Per Joann's wishes cremation rites have been accorded. Interment will be held at a later date.