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Joan Elizabeth (Cox) Howe
Joan Elizabeth (Cox) Howe
Joan Elizabeth (Cox) Howe

Joan Elizabeth (Cox) Howe, 84, of Lena, IL died April 16, 2024, in the comfort of her home surrounded by her family and faithful dogs. Joan was born April 30, 1939, on the family farm to Dean and Mary (Barnhizer) Cox of Polo, IL. 

She is survived by her children- Barb (Randy) Loomis of Lena, Martha (John) Irak of Hobart, IN, Burnham (Judi) Martin of McConnell, Marybeth (Joe) McConkey of Winona, MN, Fred (Laurie) Martin of Bloomington, IL, Devan (Juanda) Howe of Merrill, WI, Debby (Rod) Schiffman of Orem, UT; 16 grandchildren; 19 greats and one great great granddaughter. 

She was preceded in death by her husband Norm, her parents and two brothers. 

Joan was a very determined and strong woman. Her talents were many, she was an accomplished photographer, her beloved Springers being her favorite subjects. To say she loved dogs her entire life would be an understatement. She started competing with dogs at age 9. Joan spent years training, showing, and accumulating winnings in obedience as well as agility and rally all around the Midwest. 

Joan was a founder of Green County Humane Society along with starting a dog park in Monroe. She wanted dogs to know the thrill of running off leash. She was active with Green County Pregnancy Center, serving as board member and treasurer. She made countless sewing and personal care kits sent to Haiti with veterinarian Dr. Thayer from Brodhead. Joan was an avid knitter, making everything from potholders and slippers to sweater coats. She could knit, watch TV, and carry a conversation all at the same time. She was a devoted fan of Kevin Costner and had the thrill of meeting him at his premiere of “Open Range”. When Joan wasn’t busy with her many interests, she was a dedicated career woman working at First Federal of Monroe for 27 years. She enjoyed being Bank Manager and loved her many customers. 

Joan was a member of Martintown Community Church and Park Hills Evangelical Free Church in Freeport serving as Sunday School Teacher. In her later years she was a member of the Monroe Bible Church. She also was a Girl Scout, Betty Crocker’s Homemaker of Tomorrow, and member of the D.A.R.

In her recent homebound years this determined woman printed hundreds of clippings of encouragement and sent mailings weekly to people in need of an uplifting word. Joan held a special place in her heart for great granddaughters McKenzie and Savannah, she appreciated their help caring for her these past few years. 

A graveside service will be held at Fairmont Cemetery in Polo, IL on Wednesday, May 15 at 11:00 a.m. 

Her son-in-law Pastor Joe McConkey will officiate. 

If so desired, memorials may be given to Green County Humane Society in Monroe, Wisconsin. 

The family would like to express thanks to Kelli at Monroe SSM Health/Hospice for the loving care she showed us all. 

Condolences may be sent to the family at