Obituary: Jo Ann Montoya Oct. 25, 1942 – June 24, 2021

JO ANN MONTOYA Oct. 25, 1942 – June 24, 2021

Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.

Jo Ann was born in McKeesport, PA to Vera and John Mench and she remained a devoted daughter to her parents all the days of their lives. Growing up in Los Alamos under the careful watch of her parents, she and her sister Diane (Dee Dee Cuthberson) recall a very blessed life full of so much color.

She is preceded in death by her maternal grandparents William and Dora Lynn, her parents John and Vera Lynn Mench, and her grandson Zachary Montoya.

A 1960 graduate of Los Alamos High School, Jo Ann attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and for a time worked at then, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory as an Illustrator. Jo Ann was an artist first and saw the world through an artistic lens and lived her entire life as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother through devotion and artistic expression.

John, her true love, lifetime confidant, and friend recalls first meeting her at the grocery store, where she was doing advertising for the Los Alamos Monitor. Soon after, he ran into her at a party, where she was accompanied by another young man. John introduced himself and it was love from that moment on.

A very caring individual and just a good and kind person, Jo Ann strived to ensure that everyone was taken care of, usually before giving a thought to caring for herself. Her favorite pastimes were knitting, reading, travel, and scrapbooking to preserve the family’s history. Everyone in her family has artistic works that were made by Jo Ann over the years. She loved to learn and often taught herself new art forms out of a sheer desire to create and simple curiosity.

She and John lived in Seattle for a few years, where Jennifer and Jeff were born. Her first born, Jennifer, will miss their lunches, epic shopping trips, and especially how Jo Ann would accompany her on business travel, so she wouldn’t have to go alone.

Returning to Los Alamos for John’s job and to be closer to family, after her son Jeff was born. Jeff said that his mom always supported and encouraged his artistic ability, their similar personalities gave her someone with whom to share her immense artistic talent, and without words, she understood Jeff in his very best and most difficult times.

Jennifer and Jeff remember fondly that their mom always made their costumes for Halloween, theater, or dance productions. She probably enjoyed this act of love as much as they enjoyed the results. When the family took long car trips, Jo Ann had surprises for them along the way.

For more than a decade Jo Ann and John owned and operated Jo Ann’s Floral on Central Avenue. Jo Ann had a hand in so many weddings, dances, holidays, and funerals. Sharing her talent and love of the community through the language of floral arrangements of every kind. She retired and closed the shop to spend more time with John and take care of her grandchildren, Zachary and Taylor. Her creativity bloomed again, while encouraging creativity in her grandchildren and taking trips with her true love, John.

Jo Ann is survived by her beloved husband John of Los Alamos, New Mexico, sister Diane Cuthbertson (Robert) of Mount Vernon, Washington, daughter Jennifer Aylmer (Lee) and granddaughter Taylor Pomeroy of Los Alamos, New Mexico, son Jeff Montoya (Kristina Brown), her grand-dogs; Meeko, Fin and Rey, and great-grand-dog Thor. 

Dearest Jo Ann, if we had a single flower for every time we think about you, we could each walk forever in the garden.

Services will be held at: Trinity on the Hill July 31, 2021 at 10:30am.

The family of JoAnn Montoya has entrusted the care of their loved one to the DeVargas Funeral Home & Crematory of the Espanola Valley. 505-747-7477 www.devargasfuneral.com.

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