Joan B. Dobrovolny was born in Chicago Illinois on March 19, 1926. She evidenced a talent for fashion, design, and tailoring at an early age making her own dance costumes, even in grade school. When she was ready for high school her parents had lost their business and left her with an Aunt and Uncle to complete her schooling while they moved back to the farm to make a living. Mom was ‘discovered’ by an employee of Evans Furs and was able to support herself and go to college from the money she made modeling furs for them.
In college at the University of Illinois, she studied art and excelled in painting, millinery, and clothing design. Later in life as a housewife she won many local awards for pie making, clothing design, and painted murals in the Illini Union building.
It was in college she met her husband Jerry while out dancing. Jerry taught dance as a way to meet girls. When he met Joan that was it. He was the engineering ‘geek’ who got the prettiest girl. They danced for years at the various alumni and other events on campus. Mom would wait until Dad had danced a few numbers before agreeing to get on the dance floor and really show them how it was done. They made it to their 70th wedding anniversary before Dad passed in October 27, 2017.
As children we remember her making three meals a day, every day for us until we went off to high school. She made our clothes, worked with us on chores and was always there for us. She was a great teacher to us.
Joan worked as the head of recreation for Greenbriar Home. She made a wonderful ghost costume for one Halloween and roller skated down the corridors in full cover. She was responsible for the bookkeeping and preparation of leases for Dobrovonly Apartments which at one time totaled 150 units.
When Joan and Jerry retired to Florida, they continued their love of dance and Jerry’s love of golf at the Wyndemere club in Naples, Florida. Joan always had a group of women friends she stayed in correspondence with till the end.
She was a divine mother, sacrificing for her family and always there to give a gentle touch, a kind word of encouragement, and to make everything beautiful.
Services will be held at Mt. Hope Cemetery Mausoleum on Friday, March 6, 2020 at 2 pm. Friends are invited to a reception at the Champaign Country Club after the services.
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