Joanne Lynn Gratton died at home on October 10th, 2018, at the age of sixty-three, after battling metastatic ocular melanoma since March 2017.
Jo was born in Larned, KS, to John and Margaret (Olach) Ooton. Her family moved to Kansas City when she was a teen. She attended Park Hill High School followed by Rockhurst College where she met Matt Gratton. In 1975 they moved to St. Louis where Jo completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Matt earned his medical degree from St. Louis University. Early in their marriage, Matt’s position in the Navy took them to Okinawa, Japan, and Long Beach, California, before they would eventually settle back in KC in the Roeland Park area where they raised their children, Tess, Sean, and Travis. The family returned to Tokyo Bay in Japan for 3 years of active-duty Navy service for Matt. After earning her teaching certificate in Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, Joanne served as the president of the Kamakura Chapter of Ikebana International in 1996-1997. Upon returning to the states in 1997, Jo enjoyed being close to friends again and her extended family, leading volunteers at her children’s schools, meeting with her book clubs, and of course, gardening.
A lifelong learner and scientist, some of Joanne’s favorite topics were human biology, world history, cooking, and Star Wars. She also loved all things Disney and shared that love with her family through regular trips to Disney World. She particularly enjoyed making the trip to Orlando with her oldest grandchildren in October 2017.
More than anything else, Jo loved Matt, her children, and her grandchildren. Her forty-two years of marriage to Matt were filled with curiosity, travel, wit, and lots of movies. Tess, Sean, and Travis inherited these same passions and carry them into their own marriages today. Natalie Parker, Maureen Walsh, and Carly (Wagner) Gratton, Jo’s daughters-in-law, were welcomed into the family with the warmth and unconditional love Jo showed her own children. She was proud of her kids and their work, supportive through challenging times, and always willing to offer solid advice.
Joanne was known for her compassion and generosity, her quick humor, and her sharp intellect. She had strong feelings about acorns (smash them all), math (the only perfect science), and bacon fat (the best way to add a dash of love to any spaghetti recipe). She inspired those around her to indulge curiosity and to be responsible citizens who look for the best in others.
She is survived by her husband, Matthew C. Gratton; her children, Tess Gratton (Natalie Parker), Sean Gratton (Maureen Walsh) and their children, Catherine, Mary Jane, and Annie Gratton, and Travis Gratton (Carly) and a grandbaby due next month; her siblings, Diane Ooton (Terry Smith), Scott Ooton (Diane), and Sue Ross (Robert); and many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, October 15th, at the Irish Cultural Center (3301 Baltimore, KCMO) at 5:30 pm, followed immediately by a reception. A private family burial will be held at Leavenworth National Cemetery on October 16th. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation. To make a gift online, please go to www.tmcgiving.org. Contributions may be sent to TMC Foundation, 2301 Holmes St. KCMO, 64108. Assistance by Funeral Advocates.
I am honored to have included Jo as a friend and fellow Disneyfile. Jo and I could talk of many topics, but Disney World and our Disney related experiences were always at the top of the list. Jo will be missed by all who were touched by her. Please accept Gary’s and my condolences. Our thoughts are with Matt and family during this difficult time.
I love you and will miss you dearly. Our trips to Disneyland with you will forever be part of my fondest memories. I wish we could have spent more time together. You were a wonderful sister-in-law and aunt to Jennifer, Molly and Tucker.
So very sorry. Joanne was a wonderful, kind, thoughtful person. The love and support she gave me while I was going thru cancer treatment will never be forgotten. Bless you all
Celestine (Cel) Maxwell
Dignified and compassionate, courageous and gentle, Jo set her priorities, looked forward and persevered with grace. I enjoyed reading about her love of flowers and the picture makes me smile. It’s no wonder the Gratton family is so accomplished with her matriarchal endowment. I know she will be missed.
I am so sad to learn of the loss of Jo. She was always cultivating creativity and learning and it was so much fun to hang at the Gratton home growing up, making movies and watching/listening to musicals. Peace to the family and much love from the Webers. ?
It seems only yesterday since the last time we met all those years ago. Joanne was immensely proud of everyone in her immediate family. Her unbridled compassion and enthusiasm also made everyone else in Yokosuka’s Emergency Department a part of her extended family. My condolences on your loss.
I knew about the potica, but I did not know about the science or the flower arranging! What a wonderful life and what a legacy to have so many people to love you and miss you.
My thoughts and prayers are with your family. My dad (Bob Maliszewski) spoke so highly of Joanne. She was such a lovely woman!! I know there are no words to make things easier now. But we will keep your family in our thoughts and prayers. May she know peace with the Lord. And may your memories bring you happiness.
We are so sorry for your loss. She will be missed.
John & BJ Hogan & Family
Behind every good man is a great woman. Dr. Gratton is among the greats which speaks volumes of his wife: my sincerest condolences.
Words fail us when faced with such a profound loss as this. Let us just say that it was an honor and a privilege to have such a fine and gracious lady in our lives. She will be dearly missed. Our thoughts are with Matt and family.
So sorry for your loss. Are prayers and thoughts our with your family. I have know words I can say so I will convey my favorite Irish Prayer:
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. The sun shine warm upon your face. The rain fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again. May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.
So sorry to hear about your loss. Are prayers and thoughts our with your family. I have know words to say that can help so I give you my favorite Irish Prayer:
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
The sun shine warm upon your face
The rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the hollow
of his hand