When reflecting on the life of JoAnn Huertas, it is easy to see that there is no greater gift in her life than her precious family. She was strong, yet gentle, with a selfless heart that beat to serve others in ways both great and small. Although she worked hard, JoAnn also knew how to spoil herself just a bit, too. Blessed to share the majority of her life with her true love, she was thrilled to witness her family tree blossom to include children, grandchildren and even a great-grandchild. Life will never be the same without JoAnn, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
The 1950s were an exciting time in American history. The silver screen lit up with legends like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe while Elvis Presley transformed the music industry. It was also an exciting and transformational time as the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union gained momentum as both nations strived to be the first nation to reach new milestones in space. Amidst this exciting time was a time of great celebration in the lives of Andrew and Lorraine (Zakrzewski) Corona as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named JoAnn Antoinette on September 19, 1956, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was one of seven children in her family as she was raised in the family home in Milwaukee alongside older siblings, Frank, Lynn, and Tom and younger siblings Phillip, Antoinette and Jose. JoAnn’s father was of Mexican heritage while her mother was of Polish descent. To support their family, her father worked as a fork lift operator at Ladish Company while her mother worked as a ward clerk. Although she was predominantly a quiet child, JoAnn was known for becoming a real hellion if she got mad!
In many ways JoAnn was a young girl of her generation. She attended Riverside High School. Because she was bustier than most young girls her age, JoAnn loved dressing up to accentuate her figure. She was also known to sneak out of the house to attend concerts with her friend, Ann.
Not to be forgotten during her formative years was JoAnn’s introduction to the young man who would change the course of her life forever. His name was Edwin Huertas, and they met through family and friends when JoAnn was just a young girl of 12. Their relationship grew over time, and they later fell in love. With a desire to establish a life together, JoAnn and Edwin were married at Old Saint Mary Church in Milwaukee and were then treated to a reception at Polish Falcons and a Spanish band called “Latin Express.” When she married her Puerto Rican husband, Edwin, JoAnn enjoyed adding some Puerto Rican traditions to her life. Together she and her husband welcomed four children including Jennifer, Edwin, Ricky, and Michael into their hearts and home.
Throughout much of her life, JoAnn worked outside of the home as well. During her younger years, she worked at Weyenberg Shoe Company, but once Jennifer was born she quit. Later on, JoAnn worked at a school kitchen, and her final job found her working as a caretaker for the elderly with Independence First. Even during the years she was working, JoAnn’s role as a mother was always first and foremost. In her free time, she enjoyed reading serial killer novels, such as “The Ice Man” and she also liked watching Nancy Grace on television. JoAnn enjoyed blasting her sade, Motown music and also Spanish music, even though she couldn’t speak the language. She certainly worked hard, but she also loved to pamper herself by regularly getting her nails done, relaxing with a great massage and burning her incense. As her family and friends can attest, JoAnn liked a good Bloody Mary.
Although she lived a life filled with so many of the things she loved, there was nothing that was of greater significance in JoAnn’s life than her family. She was filled with unspeakable joy to become a grandmother to Allison, Tristian, Vadez, Rae Vaughn, Edwin, and Elena, and more recently a great-grandmother to Vyson. JoAnn looked forward to family events and get-togethers since she loved anything that had to do with having her family around her. As someone who loved traveling, the family took annual trips together for years. Among their destinations were Florida, Puerto Rico, and Las Vegas. She also went on cruises with the girls – on one of the trips the girls had to wait about eight hours for JoAnn’s luggage, all because she brought her king size gummy bear vitamins – Security thought it was something else! In everything her family did whether great or small, JoAnn was always so very proud of them. She and Edwin were a wonderful example of what marriage is truly intended to be. Although she was known to get mad at him at times and had to give him her famous “evil eye,” JoAnn always spoke so highly of him. She made it no secret that she was so grateful for the way Edwin was always there for her and did whatever was needed for their family. In addition, JoAnn loved her breakfasts with Toni and Lynn every few months.
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around her, JoAnn Huertas was a blessing in the lives of all who were near. She had a warm and inviting demeanor with a genuineness about her that made others want to be around her. JoAnn’s most priceless treasure was found in her family, and she savored every moment they shared together. Although she will be deeply missed, she will never be forgotten.
JoAnn Huertas was Born to Eternal Life on August 14, 2017. She was 60 years old. She is the beloved wife of Edwin; the cherished mother of Jennifer, Edwin, Ricky, and Michael; the loving grandmother of Allison, Tristian Vadez, Rae Vaughn, Edwin, and Elena; the proud great-grandmother of Vyson; and the dear sister of Frank Corona, Lynn Cierzan, Tom Corona, Phillip Corona, Antoinette Corona-Murphy and Jose Corona. JoAnn is further survived by other relatives and many good and dear friends. The Funeral Mass for JoAnn was held at Old Saint Mary Church, where she and Edwin were married, and she was laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery.