JoAnn was born July 14, 1932 in Goodridge, MN, to Louis and Gina (Larson) Smith, who named her Gladys. She was adopted as a young girl in 1941 by Henry J. and Agatha (Falk) Peters of Mountain Lake, MN. JoAnn attended school in Mountain Lake, graduating from Mountain Lake Public High School in 1950. She then went on to earn a two-year certificate from Grace Bible Institute in Omaha, NE.
JoAnn was baptized in 1950 by L.R. Amstutz upon her confession of faith, and became a member of First Mennonite Church in Mountain Lake, where she remained a member until her death. She was an accomplished pianist, vocal soloist, and also an organist at church. Even into her last years she played piano for the residents of Valley View Manor where she lived. Her jobs included working as a clerk, nurses’ aide, and cleaning.
JoAnn lived many years in various care facilities, including the Eventide home in Mountain Lake. She also spent twelve years in adult foster care with Donald and Marlis Sorenson. Her guardians after the death of her parents included Ted Peters, Gladys E. Harder, and lately Jana Potter. She is preceded in death by her birth and adoptive parents.