Jo Ann Gray Rossi, 84, surrounded by her children, passed away on March 20, 2022 after sustaining injuries from a fall. Of course, she was buying flowers!
The family will receive friends from 3:00pm – 6:00pm, Sunday March 27, 2022, at Osborn Funeral Home, 3631 Southern Avenue, Shreveport, Louisiana. Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 28th at 1:00pm at St. Joseph Catholic Church. Celebrating the mass will be Fr. Karl Daigle, long-time family friend. A graveside service will follow at Forest Park Cemetery on St. Vincent Avenue. Honoring our mom’s wishes, please be sure to join her family and friends at Savoie’s The Catering Place, on Monday, March 28th from 4:00pm-7:00pm, at 2441 E 70th Street, Shreveport, Louisiana where we’ll laugh, sing, dance, eat, drink and celebrate a life lived to the fullest.
Jo Ann was born on November 17, 1937, in Wichita, Kansas. She grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and graduated from Will Rogers High School. After graduating, she worked for an insurance company in Tulsa which was opening a new office in Shreveport. Being the strong willed, independent woman she was, Jo Ann seized the opportunity to open this new office and moved on her own, to Shreveport in 1956. She began attending mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church and was involved in the singles ministry. This is where she met her future husband, Dominic Rossi, and they were married in 1957. While Dominic was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Jo Ann gave birth to Connie and Randy. When the Air Force called Dominic overseas, they moved to Ramstein, Germany where Jo Ann gave birth to Nick, Michael and Tony. After moving back to Shreveport in 1964, Jo Ann gave birth to Jay, Angela and finally the triplets, Don, David and Dean. She was a parishioner of St. Joseph Catholic Church for over 58 years and was fortunate enough to attend Saturday afternoon mass the day before her fall.
Jo Ann started working in the real estate mortgage business in 1971 with Judy Bandaries at Jean Fore Mortgage Company. In 1973 she went to work with Robert McKenzie, a Shreveport real estate attorney. She and Robert shared many successful years closing thousands of deals. In February 2010, Jo Ann suffered a stroke and was not able to return to work. Robert emailed the real estate community and announced after working together for almost 36 years, he could not do it without his partner, Jo Ann, and wouldn’t do it with anyone else. They both announced their retirement from full-time work. Jo Ann made countless friends during these years and many reached out in the days before her passing. It was a true joy hearing all of the wonderful stories and events that took place over the nearly four decades closing loans.
Everyone who knew Jo Ann was well aware of her entertaining skills. She paid attention to details, picking up on someone’s favorite color, favorite food, favorite beverage and made sure to have it when she knew you were coming over. When it came to cooking, everyone knew whatever she created was just wonderful. There was never a recipe, it was just a concoction that was the best you’ve ever had. There were many celebrations at “234 Patton” where she lived for 50 years. Baptisms, graduations, birthdays, weddings and so many more. Everyone looked forward to the Rossi events hosted by Jo Ann. When you entered a room, even without seeing her, you could hear “the laugh” and knew she was somewhere very close. She was the life of the party dancing to Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Eddie Rabbit or basically any song with a beat. One of her favorite songs was “I am woman”, by Helen Reddy. Speaking of having fun, Jo Ann had some serious fun with her kids. The Plymouth Grand Fury and Chevrolet Malibu station wagons went sailing over Thrill Hill, with sparks flying, while she and all ten children laughed the whole way. Sometimes, just for more fun, those station wagons would make their way to the St Joseph parking lot for a few donuts before heading home. If you know Broadmoor, then you know during heavy rains, the streets easily flood. Most people would stay home and not get out. Not Jo Ann! She loaded up the station wagon and down Patton Avenue she went, windows down, kids hanging out, getting sprayed with water. If you were standing on the sidewalk, you got soaked as well. For Jay’s 40th birthday party on False River, Jo Ann, who never learned to swim, jumped on a tube and was pulled behind a boat laughing all of the way. Her early life was hard, but she made sure to make up for all of that having fun with her children and friends. She did an excellent job of it!
She was generous to everyone she ever met and gave all that she had. After her stroke, she began to volunteer for Meals on Wheels. Not only did she deliver the meals, but bought her own pies at the holidays for everyone on her route. She often snuck in clothes and shoes for those who needed them most. Jo Ann gave even more to her ten children (her “chickens” as she often referred to them), who she was most proud of in every way. She worked tirelessly and relentlessly, not for herself, but all for her kids. Jo Ann had so much pride in her home. It was the one thing that she worked so hard to keep clean. For a woman who cleaned as much as she did, she never owned a mop. “Floors were meant to be cleaned on your hands and knees”, she always said. She loved planting flowers, watering her yard or painting a room so when people came to visit, they could relax, have a great meal, listen to some fun, and often loud music, and live life to the fullest. Each holiday, Jo Ann’s house was adorned with decorations, inside and out. She wanted everyone to enjoy driving by. Every year she would call her boys to get the pumpkins… all 44 of them in the front yard. She raced to Lowes on Black Friday for poinsettias, which lined the stairs and were placed all around her house. She had the biggest, fattest Christmas Tree Akins had on their lot. Her Christmas lights could guide in a 737 to the airport. Every year, no matter their age, her grandchildren always went to “Granny’s house” to each color a dozen eggs. In addition to these, Jo Ann filled 12 dozen plastic eggs with cash and coins. She loved playing the Easter Bunny. Jo Ann always made sure to send her grandchildren birthday cards with money and enjoyed buying the clothes “she wanted” for them when they were babies.
Our mom was fortunate to have a very close circle of friends, especially in the years after her retirement and move to her new home in Kings Crossing. They enjoyed eating together, celebrating birthdays, going to the movies, sharing a glass of wine, watching (and yelling at) football games, and just spending time with one another. We are forever grateful for their loyalty, friendship and love they shared with our mom.
Jo Ann was preceded in death by the father of her children, Dominic Rossi and her son, Anthony “Tony” Rossi.
She is survived by her daughters, Connie Rossi (“CJ”) Pourciau and Angela (“Angie”) Rossi and her sons, Randy (“RDR”) and wife Jamie, Nick (“Tricky Nicky”) and wife Debi, Michael and wife Shelia, Jay (“Jay Bird”) and wife Jennifer, Don Rossi, David and wife Mary Katherine, and Dean (“Dean Bean”) and wife Jennifer; 27 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and 4 great-great grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister, Mary Jo Klabzuba. Brother, Les Laws and wife Anne.
The family would like to thank the staff of The Carpenter House, who provided her the most compassionate, peaceful and gentle care for Jo Ann during her final days. Also, her physician, Dr. Rick Michael, who has given her excellent personal care for many years.
Jo Ann loved flowers. If you choose to remember her in another way, the family suggests memorials be made to St. Joseph Catholic School, 1210 Anniston Ave, Shreveport, LA 71105.
Again, please be sure to join the celebration on Monday, March 28th at Savoie’s The Catering Place from 4:00pm-7:00pm. Jo Ann would not have it any other way!
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jo Ann Grey Rossi, please visit our floral store.