JoAnne Ruth (DeWaard) Rowley, 75, of Nampa, Idaho and formerly of Meridian, Idaho, left her temporary home on earth to join her loving Savior on Thursday, March 22, 2018 surrounded by her family and close friends as they sang songs of praise and love to her Heavenly Father. A funeral service to celebrate JoAnne’s life will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at Bethel Church of the Nazarene, 3001 12th Ave. Rd in Nampa, Idaho. Pastor Doug Wilson, a cousin and the Pastor of Bethel Church of the Nazarene, will officiate. A private burial will follow at the Meridian Cemetery and will be officiated by JoAnne’s church pastor, Pastor Dave Fraley, of Canyon Hill Church of the Nazarene in Caldwell, Idaho. The family will greet loved ones and friends at Bethel Church of the Nazarene on Tuesday evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. An online guest book is available at www.nampafuneralhome.com
JoAnne was born on November 22, 1942 in Boise, Idaho, the only daughter of Joe and Ruth (Coryell) DeWaard. She attended the Rural Country Meridian Schools (Locust Grove, Hillsdale, and Amity) and graduated from Meridian High School in 1960. She completed one semester at Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa where she took business classes that prepared her for the work force. At a very young age, JoAnne learned the lessons of hard work. She grew up on the family’s dairy in Meridian, Idaho (Overland Ranch where Mountain View HS is located.) She had the early calling of being a salesperson as she started making beaded jewelry and pot holders to sell door to door. She learned how to sew and cook while participating in 4H. She earned several blue ribbons at the Idaho State Fair for her seamstress abilities. She made several dresses for family and friends and enjoyed 4H so much she became a leader. She was an accomplished organist and pianist and played for the church services at Meridian Church of the Nazarene in Meridian, Idaho. While attending Sunday school She met the future love of her life when they were very young. It took them until they were in their early teenage years to figure out that they were meant for one another. JoAnne married Lowell W. Rowley of Meridian on June 8, 1962 both at the age of 19. Prior to their marriage, JoAnne chose to start working instead of remaining in college so that when they got married, they would be financially stable, and Lowell could continue with his schooling.
She worked for Hawkins Insurance in Boise as a secretary, then at Ada-Elmore County Health Department. In 1965 after their oldest son Kevin was born, the three of them moved to Nampa so Lowell could start his career at Home Federal Savings and Loan Assn. JoAnne then worked for the Idaho State School and Hospital as secretary to the director until their 2nd child, Karen, was born in 1968. When Lowell was transferred to Caldwell, they became part of the church family at Canyon Hill Church of the Nazarene where JoAnne attended until her passing. During her time at Canyon Hill, JoAnne had been the organist, pianist, a Sunday School Teacher, Missionary President, sang in the choir and was a pillar of the church.
JoAnne left the workforce for a short time after their 3rd child, Keith, was born in 1970. She was a busy momma having 3 children 4 years old and younger, but she knew what was important. She chose to be home with them during those foundation-building years. When the last of her children started school, JoAnne went back to work on a part-time basis. She worked as a teacher’s aide at Nampa Christian Elementary and sold real estate for AAA Realty and Golden West Realty in Caldwell before beginning the job that would be her life-long career, selling furniture. JoAnne started working part-time at Royce’s Furniture in Caldwell, so she could be home with her children after school. When Royce sold his business to Larry Gardner, JoAnne stayed on and worked at Gardner’s Home Furnishings. In 1981 JoAnne and Lowell and Royce and Pat Beougher bought the business and formed Furniture City, U.S.A. Royce ran the Caldwell location, and JoAnne ran the Downtown Nampa location. Lowell and JoAnne bought the Nampa location and became sole owners of Furniture City, USA, Inc.
After 36 years in furniture retail, JoAnne retired in August 2017. During those years of managing the furniture store, JoAnne knew and understood that God was using her right where she was. She always had a desire to be a missionary, but she KNEW that her “mission field” was right there in that building. The Lord allowed her to be the tool that furthered His Kingdom. She spent countless hours in her large “Living Room” as she put it, crying, praying, listening and counseling with strangers who walked in those doors. She made time for everyone. She touched hundreds of lives in her mission field and introduced many to her Heavenly Father. Customers more often than not, would comment on how “different” it felt in her store. The difference was that it was the Lord’s place of business and He was given complete control of it.
During the last 24 years while operating her business, JoAnne and her daughter, Karen, had the privilege of working together. One would think that there would have been several employee changes over a course of 36 years, but there weren’t. Dennis Labrum was JoAnne’s right-hand man for ALL 36 of those years. He was there through all the ups and down of running a business and was a very special person in the life of JoAnne and her entire family. Kevin Kreps was the other long-term employee who operated the business as if it were his own. When she had her seizure 1 year ago, it was Kevin Kreps who was with her. Thank you, Kevin, for giving us another precious year with her. Dennis and Kevin, thank you so much for loving JoAnne and always knowing her heart in everything that she did. She loved you and appreciated you both so very much. Words will never express our gratitude.
JoAnne loved to travel and her most favorite way to travel was by ship. Her most favorite place that she has ever been was Israel. It was there that she said she left a part of her heart. She has enjoyed trips not only to Israel but throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Quebec, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Caribbean, Alaska, and just four short weeks ago, a trip to Maui with Dale and Pam Nixon. She has flown, driven, and cruised thousands of miles with dear friends. Together they have played countless hours of Canasta, traveled to numerous BSU football games, and shared great fellowship and unconditional friendship. For the last several years she has enjoyed yearly trips to Branson, MO. Branson was never a time to relax. She only had a week to take in every show possible.
JoAnne adored her children, grandchildren and her great granddaughters. Each one held a special place in her heart and each one of them feels and knows that they were her very favorite. There is not one of them who does not know what their Grandma felt about the importance of knowing the Lord and how much she loved her Lord and Savior with all of her being. Her testimony of His Love and Grace spoke loud and clear. She was a Prayer warrior and knew firsthand the power of prayer. JoAnne walked the walk, not just talked the talk.
In the last 12 months of JoAnne’s life, things drastically changed. Things and circumstances that were out of her control. Yet she faced each day knowing that the Lord, Her All-Knowing Savior and Creator, loved her and was by her side each step of the way. She told her daughter after hearing her diagnosis, “If it’s not okay, it is still going to be okay.” She knew that the Lord had a perfect plan and would use all things to His Glory. She fought hard and stayed focused on what she was living for--she was living to one day meet Jesus face to face. Jesus! The sweetest name she knew! She leaves behind an empty part in so many lives but Hallelujah, we will see her again in a perfect body and join her in the Presence of the King!
JoAnne is survived by her loving husband of 55 years and her very best friend, Lowell W. Rowley of Nampa; her three children: Son, Kevin Rowley, Parma; Daughter and Son-in-Law, Karen and Lyle Watson, Nampa; Son and Daughter-in-law Keith and Michelle Rowley, Caldwell. 9 Grandsons, Justin Rowley, Tyler (Kalyn) Rowley, Michael (Susie) Watson, Spencer Watson, Brandon (Stephanie) Allen, Brandon (Kaitlin) Rowley, Bradley (Jade) Allen, Blake Allen and Parker Rowley. 3 Great Granddaughters Ezra and Raegan Allen and Gracie Watson and a Great Grandson on the way, Kenneth Watson. Her two brothers; Robert and Dixie DeWaard, Nampa; and Gordon DeWaard, Gig Harbor, WA; her Aunt Elaine Wilson, Meridian; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins and way too many friends to mention.
A special thank you to all the staff at MSTI for the encouragement and good care that you gave JoAnne over the past months. Thank you to St. Luke’s Nampa ER personnel and the ICU doctors and nurses who made a life-changing experience the best that it could be. You were so considerate, kind, and compassionate. Our hope is that we ministered to you as much as you did to all of us.
The family suggests memorial contributions be made to Trinity Pines Camp and Conference Center in c/o of the Intermountain District Church of the Nazarene, P.O. Box 1159, Nampa, Idaho 83553.