Barbara Jo Richner
1932 ~ 2019
Barbara Jo McCann Richner, age 86, died peacefully surrounded by family on Monday January 7, 2019. The Richner family invites all who knew Jo to attend a 1:00pm memorial service on Saturday, January 12, 2019 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, located at the corner of Orchard and Cassia in Boise. A reception will immediately follow at Hillcrest Country Club.
Jo was born on October 24, 1932 in Chestnut, Illinois to Keith and Miriam (Swain) McCann. She and her older brother, Jack, grew up in this tiny rural town of 200. She often said she had an idyllic childhood with lots of extended family nearby. She attended Mount Pulaski High School where she took up the tenor saxophone, so she could join the band and sit next to Darrell Richner. Her saxophone playing only lasted four years, but their love would last a lifetime. She graduated in 1950, then attended secretarial classes in Peoria while Darrell was serving in the Air Force. They married on June 7, 1953 in Chestnut and settled in Decatur, IL where Jo worked for an insurance company until Darrell graduated from Millikin University. They then moved to Peoria, IL where they soon welcomed their daughter Lynn in 1956 followed by Leslie in 1958. As Darrell’s work with WABCO took them from Illinois to Billings, Montana to Calgary, Alberta, back to Illinois, and finally to Boise, Idaho, Jo set to work each time setting up their happy home. She prepared homecooked meals and treats, sewed clothes for the girls, and made new friends all while wearing pearls, a smile, and dancing in heels with Darrell. She volunteered in her girls’ classrooms, sang in the church choir, joined social committees, and taught June Cleaver everything she knew.
After moving to Boise in 1970, Jo embraced Idaho and always said she was glad they settled here – “a great place to live.” She loved taking advantage of all the area had to offer especially annual family trips to McCall (summer and winter), the Sun Valley Jazz Festival, and Boise State football. We could always count on her to yell “Get him!” louder than anyone in the stadium. While they loved Boise, Jo and Darrell were lucky to be able to travel and see many sites around the country and the world.
Jo and Darrell set an authentic example for their family on how to love and live life. While they didn’t always agree on everything, their sense of humor and downright stubbornness saw them through. They lived, laughed, and loved through everything.
Jo’s life’s work was her family. She never missed a soccer game, swim meet, recital, award ceremony… any event that involved her kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. There was no place she would have rather been.
Jo was known for her great sense of humor, her love of playing bridge, and for telling anyone who would listen that her mother was a triplet. (They were born in 1903 and all survived.) She never met a stranger and always had a story to tell – with good nature and a smile. If you weren’t in one already, she could always put you in a good mood. She loved rainbows, booming thunderstorms, good music (classical, jazz, John Phillips Souza marches, and even some country western), musical theater (especially Music Man, Oklahoma, Camelot), and above all her family. They were her absolute pride and joy.
Jo is survived by her daughters, Lynn (Todd) Giesler of Boise and Leslie (Steve) Berch of Boise; grandchildren Ben (Kim) Wilson of Maple Valley, WA, Molly (Casey) Babendure of Meridian, Katie Berch of Boise; and great grandchildren Lincoln, Elliott and Colin Babendure and Scarlett and Amelia Wilson; nephews Chris (Mary) McCann and Mike (Jennifer) Richner, and nieces Leigh Ann (Mark) Whitson, Michelle (Eddie) Puckett, Maddie Richner; two sisters-in-law Pearle Jo Richner and Maggie Richner; and numerous cousins, great-nephews, greatnieces; and awesome neighbors.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, Darrell; her parents, her brother, her infant granddaughter, and other extended family and numerous friends.
While our hearts are broken that she is gone, we are happy that she is joined again with her husband in heaven. They are once again hand in hand. We will miss her fiercely but will carry her wisdom and good nature with us always and continue to pass it along to our children just as she did to us – probably while eating chocolate ice cream like she taught us. So next time you’re having ice cream or a glass of wine, raise your cone or glass and make a toast to Jo and the wonderful life she lived!
Memorials in Jo’s name may be donated to Idaho Diabetes Youth Programs (Camp Hodia), The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation or Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.