FLORENCE ELAINE GEWECKE "JO" was born on October 5, 1932 in Rock County, MN to Rudolph and Elsie (Beyer) Hunstad. She was baptized on November 20, 1932, and confirmed in 1947 at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jasper. She graduated from Jasper High School on May 25, 1950.
After graduation from high school, she worked at John Morrell in Sioux Falls. She married Dean Gewecke on October 14, 1951. They lived briefly on the Golden Guernsey Dairy Farm near Jasper. Dean enlisted in the Navy in 1952. While in the Navy they lived in San Diego, CA, Jacksonville, FL, and Charleston SC. They returned to Pipestone in 1956.
Over the 30 years they were married, Jo and Dean traveled to Italy, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. They were divorced in July, 1981. Jo traveled to Okinawa by herself in the summer of 1981. She traveled twice to Germany and throughout Europe. She traveled to South Carolina every year (and sometimes twice a year) to visit Linda and her family. She took a very special trip to California in 2012 to visit her sister Lou who she had not seen in 10 years. Jo also was a big fan of Jeff Gordon and was able to attend a Nascar Race at Kansas Speedway during his final season in 2015.
She had a few trips on her “Bucket List.” Thankfully her children were able to help her make those become a reality. She went to Niagara Falls in September of 2019, and to Graceland in Memphis, TN in October of 2020. Surprisingly the other item on her bucket list was to go zip lining, which she did in May of 2019 in South Carolina.
Jo owned several stores including Roe’s Trading Post and Hobby Hutch in Pipestone and a satellite Hobby Hutch store in Luverne. She was also a secretary to the Superintendent of Schools in Pipestone, the Chamber of Commerce in Pipestone and ended her career as the church secretary for Peace United Methodist Church.
Jo has lived in the same house since 1965. She loved her corner house and remodeled it several times. She loved decorating it for the different seasons, especially Christmas, and was featured in the Pipestone Christmas Tour of Homes twice. Her grandchildren always loved being at Grandma Jo’s for Christmas as it was a magical place to be. She adored all of her 16 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren and all of the time she spent with them was very special to her.
Her favorite pastimes were dancing and working on historical books. She worked on the Jasper Centennial Book and was in charge of the Pipestone County History Book. She also wrote a book on Eden Church several years ago. She was a member of Peace United Methodist Church and taught Sunday School and Bible School and was very active in the church. She was often called upon to help with their rummage sales to help raise money for the church. When her girls were young, she was a Girl Scout leader. She was also on the HPI Board (Historic Pipestone, Inc) and spent many hours working to raise money to restore buildings in Pipestone. She was on the same bowling team for 30 years and remained friends with her teammates up until her death.
One of Jo’s greatest joys was hosting the Annual Holiday Craft Fair which she did for thirty years. It began at the Country Club in Pipestone until it became too large for that building so it was moved to the Armory. It was a benefit to the community in that it gave local shoppers a great place to find homemade unique gifts and décor, and it gave the crafters in the area a place to sell their creations.
Jo had a stroke on June 8th and was transported to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. She was in Avera and the Encompass Rehabilitation Center in Sioux Falls until July 15th at which time she went to Good Samaritan Communities of Pipestone. She remained in Good Sam until her death on November 20, 2022.
Jo is survived by her children, Brenda (Darin) Staab of Pipestone, Minnesota, Linda Carrow of Ladson, South Carolina, Teresa (Mike) Appeldorn of Tea, South Dakota, and Steve (Tami) Gewecke of St. Cloud, Minnesota; and sister-in-law Beverly Hunstad of Jasper, Minnesota. She was preceded in death by an infant daughter, Debra Gewecke; daughter, Donna Detlefsen; parents, Rudolph and Elsie Hunstad; siblings, Gordon, Luella, Marian “Tootie”, Ray, and Orlan; and ex-husband, Dean Gewecke