Helen Joanne Bretz, 88, died peacefully Feb. 10, 2013, of complications from several falls in recent months.
Joanne was born March 19, 1924, to Thomas Jefferson Taylor and Neva (Pickrel) Taylor in Topeka, Kan.
She was preceded in death by her parents, both her sisters, Julia Wandt and Mary Lee McKee, and her husband, Al Bretz.
She is survived by her daughter, Joanne (Tippy) Roberts and Fred Bretz; (Gail), her granddaughter, Caren Bodine (Mark); her great-grandchildren, Jett and Ava Bodine, and many nieces and nephews.
Joanne spent her life serving others, first as a nursery school teacher and then as a nurse for Dr. Paul Coury of Miller, Caswall, Coury, and Nobo.
As a member of First Presbyterian Church of Bartow, Joanne contributed many years to the spiritual well-being of her church family. Part of her joy was sharing her flowers (especially her roses) for church functions and special occasions. Her love of games and cards, including her skill as a bridge player, reflected a fierce competitive spirit.
She was an avid lover of sports, especially golf and anything the Florida Gators were playing.
Joanne’s strongest love was for her family, and she and Al were wonderful parents and role models to their children. Always proud of her membership in the Kansas P.E.O., she followed her mother and sisters in that tradition. Joanne was blessed by a loving family and kind and patient friends. She lived a full and active life until the past few years and loved the town of Bartow for the 62-plus years she has been a resident.
Visitation is at Whidden-McLean Funeral Home at 650 E. Main St., Bartow, on Thursday, Feb. 14, from 6-8 p.m.
Graveside services is 11 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, at Wildwood Cemetery, 1095 W. Stuart St. in Bartow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Polk Education Foundation (Attention: Al Bretz Scholarship), 1530 Shumate Drive, Bartow, FL 33830. This scholarship was established for Bartow High School graduates who attended Floral Avenue Elementary School, a project of which Joanne and the family have always been proud.
Condolences to the family at www.WhiddenMcLeanfuneralhome.com.
Whidden McLean Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.