In 2013 when doctors told JoAnne Persons she has stage four cancer and about 2 years to live, the 64-year old wife, mother, grandmother and career retail manager replied instinctively, “I just have don’t time for that”. The spontaneous reaction to her oncologist spoke volumes about JoAnne’s calm, confident and tough-as-nails “can do” attitude that she had exhibited toward life and how she always lived it. On June 3, 2022, after nearly nine years of happily and productively disproving the diagnosis wrong, JoAnne passed away with her husband 0f 48 years Todd Persons, son Andrew and daughter Amanda by her side at their Maitland home. She had continued her career as Assistant Cosmetic Manager at Neiman Marcus Orlando, traveled, visited children and grandchildren, was involved in Orlando’s Arts community, and even was part of an Advent Healthcare cancer survivor marketing campaign.
Born in State College, PA to Dr. Harold and Phyllis Kaiser, JoAnne graduated from Penn State University with a degree in merchandise management, moved to New York City where she became the youngest fashion buyer for upscale department chain Bonwit Teller at the age of 22 After meeting her husband to be at the wedding of a mutual friend in Orlando, JoAnne moved to the City Beautiful in 1975 and married Todd, a TV journalist at the time. During the ensuing years, the couple raised their two children, and JoAnne continued her retail career as a buyer and manager with companies like Burdines, Jacobsons, Saks Fifth Ave and Neiman Marcus.
JoAnne was active with the Orlando Museum of Art as a member of the museum’s fund raising arm Council of 101. She and the family spent relaxing time at the beach and at their condo in Beech Mountain, North Carolina. She was a doting grandmother to Andrew’s children Ella and Everett and to the children and grandchildren of Todd’s sons Rob and David Persons, Todd’s children from a previous marriage.
JoAnne is survived by her husband Todd, their son Andrew Persons and wife Laura,
grandchildren Ella and Everett, of Gainesville, FL; their daughter Amanda and her partner Matthew McFarling of Chicago, IL; sister Barbara Swanson, her husband Thomas “Skip” and their children Christopher and Ben, Charlotte, NC; sister Denise Kaiser, Chicago, IL; Stepson Rob Persons, wife Vicki and children Courtney and Christopher, of Casselberry, Fl; Stepson David Persons, wife Melissa and children Daniel, Brian, Molly and Abby of Deerfield, MA., and special friends Sarah Powell, Maitland, and Dr. Dan Tressler and wife Terrie of Kalispell, MT.
Private graveside services will be held at Greenwood Cemetery in Orlando on Saturday, June 11, with a celebration of life for friends and family planned for early Fall in Orlando.