School 25

Joanne Valerie Fox Shover

May 4, 1931 ~ June 4, 2019 (age 88)

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Joanne Valerie Fox Shover    (photo provided by Anda Marie Photography)

May 4, 1931 - June 4, 2019

Joanne Valerie Fox Shover peacefully shed her container on Tuesday, June 4th, 2019.

Joanne was born on May 4th, 1931, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She grew up in Paxtang and graduated from Lebanon Valley College, where she once (she would later claim) shaved her entire body out of sheer boredom. In the summer of 1964, Joanne and her young family relocated to Michigan City, Indiana, where she would spend the remainder of her life, always relishing visits back to her hometown and beloved sea shore. Joanne - affectionately called "Jo" or "Shover" by many - spent almost twenty years as a teacher of English and Spanish at Elston High School. Her love of language stayed with her to her final days (reader, she would likely take an enthusiastic red felt-tip pen to this very text). She was also a passionate advocate for civil and women’s rights, serving as president for her local chapter of NOW.

In retirement, Joanne found community at the Dunes Summer Theatre, where she collaborated with her dear friend Joann Saxon in the Children’s Theatre and was known for a time as the Queen of the Lobby, a wry, bedecked figure taking tickets, smoking Virginia Slims, and generally holding court. For many happy years, she was a fixture in the center-aisle seat of the house-left booth, the silhouette of her hat and her laughter and exclamations ("YES.") unmistakable to the actors onstage and the audience members surrounding her.

Shover was noted for her questionable sense of humor, which did not dull with age. She read Shakespeare to her English classes daily, always announcing as she opened the book - in a nod to students who tended to drift off during her recitations - "Time for bedtime stories." She kept something of a freewheeling oral "will" for years, telling people to put notes on items in her house they wanted to claim (as in "so-and-so wants this U.S. Presidents-themed trash can in the will"), then often removing the notes if and when so-and-so fell out of her favor. She was a devoted thrifter: she spent early weekend mornings garage sale hopping; she never hesitated to stop her car to grab a lamp or table she’d spotted on the side of the road; and she continued to make shopping trips even after she lost her vision, her deft fingers sifting through clothing racks for appealing fabrics. She loved the smoking car on the Amtrak; floating in the lake or the ocean; sucking on Halls; eating Rally burgers; cheering the Chicago Bulls (she watched close games from her hiding spot behind the couch and hung a broom outside her house during playoffs); soaking in the tub; cackling at stories told by her children (while constantly threatening, "I’ll wet myself!"); reading a good book; listening to a good record; wearing a good hat ("Men love hats"). She rejected cats, guilt, and housework.

Joanne was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Blanche Fox, as well as canine companions June, Trixie, and Girlie. She is survived by her sister Carole Weaver and brother-in-law Richard; children ("the Aunt Jo people") Sean Shover (Olie Shover), Laurie Hughes (Roger Hughes), Leath Barnett (Joseph Barnett), and Tom Shover (Jeanette Scott); grandchildren Erika Schmidt and Abagael May and their father Andrew Schmidt; and niece and nephews ("the Aunt Carole people") Shelley Bender, Kip Weaver, and Kyle Weaver. Her family sends their deep thanks to the communities (which happily included some former students of "Ms. Shover") at Rittenhouse Village, Aperion Care Arbors, and Dunes Hospice for their care.

In lieu of flowers (Joanne was allergic), contributions can be sent to the National Organization for Women at or 202-628-8669 ext. 112.

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