Daughter of Frank and Jennie (Nemanich) Jurisic, Joann was born on September 16, 1935 in Joliet, IL. Raised in Chicago she attended Nazareth Academy then went on to study Latin at Loyola University of Chicago where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. At Loyola she met John G. O’Malley while playing cards. She no doubt won the game, but he won her heart and they married in 1958. Starting out in Oak Park, IL and ultimately settling in DeKalb, IL, Joann and John raised four children. John preceded her death in 1986.
Joann, always an avid reader, received her Master’s in Library Science from Northern Illinois University writing her thesis against censorship in high school education. She joined the staff of DeKalb Public Library as an outreach librarian and held a number of roles until becoming the director, a position she held for 10 years until she retired in 1997. She moved to the Kalamazoo, MI area to be by her sister and her mother. In 2001 Joann married Walter Grabowski and they lived together on Pretty Lake in the Mattawan, MI area until Walt’s death in 2019. She moved to the Shoreview, MN area to be closer to family. Joann was acclimating to MN, cold and all, unfortunately she was sequestered in her senior apartment when COVID hit. As a result, she suffered numerous medical setbacks due to the isolation. She was happy to finally see her family again and had some lovely days overlooking Turtle Lake. Joann was slated to come out of yet another senior care center quarantine on September 11, 2020 and she did, by flying on eagles’ wings. Joann is now playing cards in heaven with her parents, Frank and Jennie Jurisic, sister Carol Grabowski, brother James Juricic and her two husbands John G. O’Malley and Walter Grabowski. She no doubt has already won the game.
Joann will be deeply missed by her surviving family including, her children John F. O’Malley of Minneapolis, MN, Cathy O’Malley (James) Cavalier of Shoreview, MN, Maureen O’Malley (Brent) Rehfuss of White Bear Lake, MN and Carol O’Malley (Craig) Hellman of River Forest, IL, sister–in-law Loretta Juricic, Auburn Hills, MI. She is also survived by nine grandchildren, Brien, Maille, Clare Cavalier, Karl, Tori, Zach Rehfuss, and Corey, Kristine, Keven Hellman.
numerous nieces and nephews and thirteen step grandchildren.
A private mass of Christian burial, will be live streamed from St. Odilia Catholic Church Shoreview, MN on September 17, at 11:00 AM www.youtube.com/St. Odilia channel. She will return to Chicago one last time to rest in eternal peace with her husband John, in St. Joseph’s Cemetery, River Grove, IL.
As a devout Catholic, in lieu of flowers, Mom would prefer memorials to St. John Bosco Parish, Mattawan, MI stjohnbosco.com , St. Odilia Catholic Community, Shoreview, MN stodilia.org or St. Joseph’s Indian School, Chamberlain, SD stjo.org.