July 14, 2018
LINNEUS – On July 14, 2018, Heaven requested the presence of Jo Ann LeVasseur Dunphy, loving wife of 53 years to Woodie Dunphy, devoted mother to Renae, Amanda, Fawn and Albertine, and compassionate “Grammy” to Joshua, Teddy, Mia, Max, Ian and Sam. There are two types of people in the world, Jo Ann and everyone else. She was a leader, a coach, and a teacher both inside and outside the classroom. She was a lady who paved the way and lived in the moment, as well as lived to the fullest. Appreciating every aspect of every day, whether it was good or bad, she saw the lesson and the blessing in all that was around her.
Jo Ann graduated from Fort Fairfield High School in 1961, received her bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Maine Presque Isle in 1964 and her master’s degree in instructional leadership from the University of Southern Maine in 1989. Jo Ann met Woodie while taking a summer class at UMPI in 1964 where they fell in love immediately, and were married in February 1965. They went on to have four beautiful daughters in the next five years, raising them in Houlton. As soon as the girls were in school, Jo Ann launched her teaching career, which included teaching jobs in New Limerick, Linneus, and Hodgdon. She started the Gifted and Talented Program while at Hodgdon. She then went on to become principal at Millbridge and Gouldsboro Elementary Schools. She loved spending time with her family, many friends, book clubs and quilting group. She could be found wielding chalk and erasers and wagging a finger in many classrooms, lecturing students in her role as “the dorm mother” at Ricker College, snowmobiling in northern Maine, skiing May Mountain, camping and hiking Mt. Katahdin, fishing and hunting T7-R3, as well as Alaska, fiddleheading near the Meduxnekeag River, and swimming and boating with her grandchildren at Drews Lake.
Later in her life, she enjoyed the freedom of traveling the world, including the Caribbean Islands, Kenya, Northern Ireland and England. Jo Ann was a queen of slipstream and held the power to provide support that pulled many through the difficult times, and gave us the lift we needed to go the extra distance, whether through her prayers, words, or her endless supply of hugs. She was a self proclaimed animal forensics expert and master tracker, and has all the pictures to prove it. Most of all, she was the most loving wife, mother and grandmother, with a heart and positive attitude bigger than life. Her kindness and compassion toward others, whether they were kind or unfair in return, spoke volumes of her character. She evoked a standard of grace, gratitude, and humbleness. Her passion for the Catholic faith gave her added strength and happiness through the hard times. Surviving stage three breast cancer, she provided inspiration for many others who were suffering, recovering or receiving bad news. She had a laugh that spoke volumes of her outlook and interest in life and, most of all, she had a heart that was bigger than life and more precious than gold.
Jo Ann is survived by her husband, Woodie Dunphy; daughter, Renae Dunphy Lefay and children, Joshua Parks of Vancouver, B.C., and Teddy Lefay of South Portland; daughter, Amanda Murray and husband, Dean, and children, Mia, Max, Ian and Sam of Kennebunkport; and daughter, Fawn Dunphy and husband, Mike Hale, of Cape Elizabeth. She is also survived by her brother, Gary LeVasseur and his wife, Pat, of Salem, N.J., and her sister, Mary Hill and husband, Ralph, of Yarmouth. She has many nieces, nephews and cousins locally and around the world, and a great-granddaughter due in the fall.
Jo Ann was predeceased by her daughter, Albertine; parents, Renis and Angeline LeVasseur; Woodie’s parents, Amanda and Albert Dunphy; sisters, Jean Pipes and Madelyn Irvine; and brothers, Peter, John and “Sonny” LeVasseur; and sister and brother in-law Dana and Dolores Briggs.
To know her was to love her, as well as a blessing and a gift.
Visiting hours will be 6-8 p.m., Friday, Aug. 3, 2018 at Dunn Funeral Home, Houlton. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary Of The Visitation Catholic Church. The family invites relatives and friends to a reception at the Houlton Lodge of Elks following the service. Arrangements in care of Dunn Funeral Home. Online condolences may be expressed on the Tribute Wall at: www.dunnfuneral.com
“Love is a world all its own that exists in the heart, not in the head” – Anonymous
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made payable in her memory to:
Cary Library in c/o Dunn
11 Park Street
Houlton, ME 04730