Remembering Jo Ann Larson

Many would be hard pressed to recall someone who offered a quicker smile or a more enthusiastic hello than Jo Ann Larson. Throughout her 30-year career at the lab, Jo Ann was always helpful and diligent. She had many friends in Computing, where she spent the majority of her Fermilab career, as well as other organizations. Everyone knew Jo Ann.

Sadly, Jo Ann passed away at her home on Nov. 3, 2020. She began her career in 1988 in what was then called the Technical Division before moving into a new position in Computing. Most recently, she worked for the Computing Finance Group, where she ensured purchase requisitions were submitted and approved correctly and on time. She retired on May 4, 2018. Since then, she had traveled to Greece and enjoyed visits to Nashville, Tennessee, where her children reside.

In celebration of her life, we wanted to share some of our sentiments and memories of her:

“Jo Ann was a dedicated worker who always found ways to bring to joy to everyone around her.  She was known for Bagel Tuesday’s when she made sure every team member had their favorite bagel.  At fiscal year-end, her workload would increase ten-fold and it seemed like every person in Computing would come by her desk with an urgent request.  But she made sure all of their requests were processed and submitted on time, and she did it with a cheerful smile.”

– Valena Sibley, supervisor, OCIO Financial Services Group


“We are enduring a period when personal interactions are very limited.  We yearn for the smiling and welcoming face of another—which is exactly what Jo Ann provided at every moment.  You could come to her with the most confusing bureaucratic question and know that she would kindly guide you through the process.  But best of all, her attitude was contagious and cheered all around her.”

– Stu Fuess, deputy head of the Scientific Computing Division


“Jo Ann was one of the first people to make me feel welcome when I started working at Fermilab.  I had just moved to a new house and she discovered that we were neighbors.  Jo Ann’s kindness immediately showed when she offered me her old furniture to help get settled in my new place.  A couple years later I had surgery and Jo Ann insisted on bringing over meals.  She not only provided dinners for me and my roommate, but would drive me around to run errands when I couldn’t do so myself.  Her generosity always went above and beyond and her kindness was selflessly shared with everyone she met.”

– Christina Kelley, OCIO Financial Services Group


“Jo Ann was always adding to her ever-growing number of friends in this world.  She went out of her way to make everyone feel good by doing things like organizing group lunches, calling to check up on people or bringing in goodies, some that she even baked herself.  At work, Jo Ann was very knowledgeable of the Fermilab purchasing process and she enthusiastically and patiently walked many people through their issues step by step.  She was an inspiration to all with her extremely positive attitude and willingness to help anyone in need.  We will all miss Jo Ann’s laugh and that beautiful smile!”

– Joy Miletic, NTT Data Managed Services