JoAnn Shina

September 26, 1934 - January 20, 2013
Kalamazoo formerly of Sewickley, PA, MI



Sunday, March 3, 2013
11:00 AM EST
Beth Samuel Jewish Center
810 Kennedy Drive
Ambridge, PA 15003
(724) 266-5238


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Rose Arbor Hospice
5473 Croyden Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 345-8910
Driving Directions
Web Site

Sewickley Valley YMCA
625 Blackburn Rd.
Sewickley, PA 15143
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


As her friends and family can attest, JoAnn Shina was rarely one to be still. She lived an active lifestyle and was physically fit long before doing so was the trend, and there seemed to be nothing that she wouldn’t try at least once. Together JoAnn and her beloved husband Isaac exemplified what marriage is truly intended to be - they were soul mates, true companions, and best friends all rolled into one. She loved being a mother, but JoAnn just may have argued that becoming a grandmother was the role of her lifetime. Although her family and friends would have loved more time with JoAnn, their lives will be forever changed because of her love.

Though the cloud of the Great Depression overshadowed the entire decade of the 1930s, there were noteworthy events to be celebrated. This was the decade that witnessed the completion both of Hoover Dam and the Empire State Building while the first national hourly wage was imposed. The unemployment rate began declining by the mid-thirties, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected for a second term. It was during this unprecedented time that a young couple from Piney Flats, Tennessee, was overjoyed to announce the birth of their healthy baby girl on September 26, 1934. Baby JoAnn was one of eight children born to her parents, Lorenza and Mollie (Crowe) Hawk, and she was raised in Piney Flats during her earliest years. She later moved to the Johnson City, Tennessee, area with her family. With a nurturing spirit down to her core, she had aspirations of becoming a nurse one day. JoAnn was a student at local schools and went on to graduate from Science Hill High School in Johnson City in 1953.

After graduating from high school JoAnn continued on to nursing school, but her plans quickly changed when she met the young man with whom she would write a love story that would span nearly 60 years. His name was Isaac Shina, and they were set up on a blind date when the date he had planned to spend the evening with got sick. It was JoAnn, however, who swept him off his feet that night, beginning a new chapter in their lives. There was an immediate attraction between them that neither could deny, and a whirlwind romance ensued. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together JoAnn and Isaac were married on March 14, 1954, in Edgeworth, Pennsylvania. Together they were blessed with three sons: Jeffrey in 1955, Matthew in 1957, and Michael in 1961.

The Shina family settled into a home in Edgeworth, Pennsylvania, where JoAnn was an extraordinary wife, homemaker, and mother. She was actively involved in the lives of her boys including as a den mother and homeroom mother in addition to numerous other activities. Everything that came out of JoAnn’s kitchen was outstanding whether sweet or savory, and she made a point to make her boys‘ favorite foods and sweet treats. Later in life she frequently spoiled her grandchildren with their favorites as well.

Caring for her family was always JoAnn’s main priority, but JoAnn enjoyed so many things that interested her. She had a lifelong love for athletics and was competitive by nature. For several years JoAnn played both tennis and paddle tennis, and she was also into skiing, walking and aerobic exercise long before they became popular. She seemed to be a natural at whatever sport she tried, and she always wanted to be the best she could be. JoAnn did yoga for many years as well as she was always on the cutting edge of trends. She also took ballet lessons at one time. She volunteered as a fitness trainer at the Sewickley (PA) YMCA, loved tending to her plants and garden, and was an active member of the Beth Samuel Jewish Center in Ambridge, Pennsylvania.

JoAnn was an avid reader, mainly of fiction, and she often traded books with her friends or discussed what she was reading with others. Most nights found JoAnn with her nose buried between the pages of a book before bed. JoAnn traveled much of the world, attending numerous professional conferences with her husband through his work. She always said Vienna, Austria was her favorite place.

In the afternoons she liked watching soap operas like The Young and the Restless, and she especially enjoyed reading People magazine.

Later in life JoAnn continued to make the most of the days she was given. She was delighted to become a grandmother and loved taking her grandchildren to play tennis and swim. JoAnn had a great relationship with her grandchildren and was forever telling them funny rhymes and stories. Life became more difficult for JoAnn and her loved ones when she was diagnosed with scoliosis a few years ago. Although she underwent several surgeries, her daily life was not without limitations and necessary modifications, which certainly frustrated JoAnn. This past fall JoAnn and Isaac moved to the Kalamazoo, MI area to be closer to their son, Jeffrey and his family.

An independent, fun-loving, and lively woman, JoAnn Shina made a significant impact in the lives of so many around her. She loved to laugh and enjoyed a good joke, and her laughter was always contagious, too. JoAnn was devoted to her family, and it was with the love of her life by her side that she witnessed her family tree grow to include numerous branches. Life will never be the same without JoAnn here, but her memory will remain forever near and dear to those she cherished.

JoAnn Shina of Kalamazoo, formerly of Sewickley, PA, died on January 20, 2013 in Kalamazoo. JoAnn’s family includes her husband, Isaac Shina; sons: Jeffrey (Merrie) Shina, Matthew (Doris) Shina, and Michael (Mary Kay) Shina; grandchildren: Joshua (Leslie), Beth (Kevin), Rachel, Meredith and Natalie; and several siblings. JoAnn was preceded in death by several siblings. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 AM on Sunday, March 3, 2013 at the Beth Samuel Jewish Center (810 Kennedy Drive; Ambridge, PA). Private interment will take place in Pittsburgh, PA. Please visit JoAnn’s personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a memory or photo and sign her online guestbook. Memorial donations may be directed to the Sewickley Valley YMCA (PA) or Rose Arbor Hospice in Kalamazoo. Arrangements provided by Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler – Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Dr., (800) 822-7594.