Joanne Bauschke Pherigo

October 30, 1950 - October 27, 2016
Orlando, FL



Monday, December 5, 2016
2:00 PM EST
Life Story Funeral Homes - Betzler
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A reception will follow in the Life Story Center.

Driving Directions


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.

Pet Rescue by Judy
401 South Laurel Avenue
Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 302-4497

Kalamazoo Community Foundation-Michael Listiak Scholarship Fund
402 East Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007-3888
(269) 381-4416
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


The life of Joanne Bauschke Pherigo is the story of an amazing life lived to the fullest by a kind, gentle, and loving woman. She was as authentic as she was unpretentious. She was gracious and fun-loving and possessed a spunky, dry sense of humor that would reveal itself at the most unexpected moments. She made friends easily and often. She lived her life based upon doing what was pleasurable, avoiding what was not pleasurable whenever possible, loving her family, and being happy with what she had. Joanne was a beautiful, childlike soul.

Joanne was born in South Haven, Michigan on October 30, 1950, the third child of Alfred and Adena (Olson) Bauschke. She had two older siblings, brother Jim and sister Betty. She grew up in the idyllic Lake Michigan town of South Haven, graduating from South Haven High School in 1969. Joanne would often reminisce about her childhood in South Haven and growing up in the fifties and sixties, recalling endless summer days at the beach, the South Haven pier and lighthouse extending into Lake Michigan, and family Christmas trees with actual candles—with a bucket of water nearby just in case of a mishap. Joanne adored her Center Street home in South Haven where she grew up, with its front and back staircases.

Joanne would quickly say that she had the best family and an ideal childhood. She would talk about her dad’s mail carrier route and his being a church organist. Alfred had a sunny disposition and took great pleasure in all aspects of life. One of his favorite expressions was “Isn’t life grand!” Joanne’s mom was an amazing homemaker who could make or fix almost anything and pretty much ruled the household. And although the 1950s and 1960s have been called the “Golden Age of Television,” where a television set became an essential fixture in most American living rooms, there was never a television in the Bauschke home. Adena would not permit such a scandalous thing to cross her threshold. Joanne would remember how her brother Jim and sister Betty doted on her, calling her “little Joey” until the end of her life. She would recall how, as a poor college student, after visiting her brother she would often discover a twenty dollar bill that had mysteriously found its way into her jacket. She talked about her European tour with the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony Orchestra in high school and how her parents went with her.

Music became a part of Joanne’s life in grade school when she started taking music lessons and remained a central part of her life for almost sixty years. Joanne attended the Interlochen Center for the Arts summer camp, and she was the first recipient of the Michael Listiak Music Scholarship to Western Michigan University. She graduated from WMU in 1974 with a degree in Music Performance as an oboist. In addition, Joanne studied at Tanglewood Music Center, the summer home of the Boston Symphony. She played second oboe in the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra for twenty-four years and was a member of the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Orchestra for twenty years. In addition to her music degree, she had an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Kalamazoo Community College. Joanne worked as a dental hygienist with the periodontal practice of Drs. Comar & Comar in Kalamazoo.

It was through her love for music that Joanne’s life changed forever in 1983 when she met her soul mate. His name was Johnny Pherigo, and they met when they were both playing in the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. Johnny was a French hornist and a new member of the music faculty at Western Michigan University. As they grew to know each other it didn’t take long for the couple to fall deeply in love. With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Joanne and Johnny were married on August 17, 1985, at Kanley Chapel on the campus of WMU. Their union would span thirty-one years, and together they raised three beautiful children including their stepson, Cody, and their daughters, Emily and Anna. Their family made their home on Creston Avenue in Kalamazoo and filled it with music, laughter, pets, and love.

Joanne retired from dental hygiene in 2004 when the family moved to Orlando, Florida, where Johnny had accepted an administrative and faculty position at the University of Central Florida. Although Joanne was initially less than enthusiastic about leaving her native Michigan, once in Florida she flourished with her music as a member of the Walt Disney World Epcot Candlelight Orchestra, the Florida Lakes Symphony Orchestra, and the Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Joanne also substituted on oboe and English horn with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park Orchestra.

Joanne often expressed appreciation for having the opportunity to play with so many fine oboists in Central Florida. Her oboe friends will remember how much fun she was to be with in orchestra rehearsals or concerts, how supportive she was and also how she always managed to get the English Horn part. She made reed making a pleasure by using different colors of thread, with sapphire blue or turquoise being her favorites, and convinced many of her colleagues that the choice of thread color was an essential part of making successful reeds.

A few years after moving to Orlando Joanne started volunteering at Pet Rescue by Judy, a no-kill shelter that rescues homeless dogs and cats, rehabilitates them and finds homes for them. When the organization opened a retail store in a local mall Joanne became the store manager on weekends. In the course of her work there she displayed managerial, leadership, and organizational skills that previously even she did not realize she had. She was motivated by her concern for the welfare of the animals; it was all about the animals.

Music was Joanne’s biggest pleasure, and she was multi-talented and loved a variety of crafts: knitting, quilting, and making stuffed animals, especially teddy bears and bunnies. She created her own small company called Bauschke Bear Company and displayed her teddy bears at some local crafts shows. When she was knitting she would respond to any question or request with the knitter’s mantra: “Just let me finish this row.” She enjoyed photography and possessed a photographer’s eye for composing a picture, flowers being among her favorite subjects. Joanne even took up running and completed the Walt Disney World half-marathon in 2006.

Joanne’s pleasurable activities most definitely did not include housework or cooking, both of which she considered vastly overrated activities. Early in her marriage she once exclaimed: “I was not born to clean!” Johnny had no ready response for this defiant battle cry and wisely accepted it, ensuring mutual marital bliss.

Joanne Bauschke Pherigo, 65, passed away peacefully on October 27, 2016, in Orlando, Florida. She was born in South Haven, Michigan October 30, 1950. Memorial services celebrating her life will be held November 28, 2016, at 1:00 p.m. at the Baldwin-Fairchild Conway Funeral Home, 1413 South Semoran Blvd, Orlando, FL 32807; and December 5, 2016, at 2:00 p.m. at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.

Joanne is survived by her husband of thirty-one years, Johnny of Orlando; daughters Emily (Orlando) and Anna (Portland, Maine), and stepson Cody (Seattle, Washington). Also a brother James Bauschke of Kalamazoo, Michigan and sister Betty Simpson of Scottsdale, Arizona; plus numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews on both sides of the family.

Please visit Joanne's personal web page at www.BetzlerFuneralHome.com, where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign her online guestbook before coming to the funeral home.