Emily Johanna ‘Jo’ Denison, age 72, peacefully passed away on Sunday, August 15, 2021 at her home in Lawrenceville, Illinois. She was born on April 1, 1949 in Vincennes, Indiana. She was the eldest daughter of Dr. Robert C. and Stephanie (Bovitz) Kirkwood.
She was a 1967 graduate of Lawrenceville High School. She then earned a bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Illinois State University. She also graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Master of Science degree in Counseling with a concentration in School Counseling.
Jo was a retired elementary school teacher and high school guidance counselor. She worked for Community Unit School District 20, Robinson High School, and Charleston High School. She also taught college students part-time for Frontier Community College.
After retirement from teaching, Jo began a new career as a real estate agent at H.J. Rice Realty. Her more than 20-year tenure at H.J. Rice Realty lasted until her death.
Jo amassed 40 years of service to her community. She was a current member of the Lawrence County Cancer Resource Center & Wig Shoppe board of directors and PEO International. She was also a past member of the Lawrence Crawford Association for Exceptional Citizens board of directors, Lawrence Public Library board of directors, Camp Girls, and Delta Theta Tau Sorority.
She was an avid reader and enjoyed solving crossword puzzles and Sudoku. She also loved to travel and camp. She was a passionate fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and the University of Evansville basketball teams. In past years, she enjoyed performing in local theater groups.
Jo's favorite leisure activity was spending time with her friends and family, especially her children and grandchildren.
Preceding her in death were her parents.
Survivors include: her life partner, James ‘Jim’ Love (Robinson, Illinois); her three sons, Matthew Harr and wife, Danel (Normal, Illinois), Mark Denison (Lawrenceville, Illinois), and Andrew Denison and wife, Abby (Clarksville, Tennessee); her brother, Roger Kirkwood (Portland, Maine); her three sisters, Ruth Kirkwood (Portland, Maine), Jill Kirkwood (California), and Nancy Hill (Lawrenceville, Illinois); her five grandchildren, Landon Harr, Larin Harr, Larissa Harr, Faith Denison, and Elijah ‘Eli’ Denison; one nephew, Andrew Chapman; and two nieces, Stephanie Hill and Lucy Hill. Also surviving her in death are a group of close and dear friends.
Graveside services will be conducted on Saturday, September 4, 2021 at 11:00 AM at the Lawrenceville City Cemetery. There will be no visitation. Memorial donations may be made to Lawrence Crawford Association for Exceptional Citizens, Lawrence County Cancer Resource Center & Wig Shoppe, or a charity of the donor’s choice. Emmons-Macey & Steffey Funeral Home in Lawrenceville, Illinois is in charge of the arrangements.
To send flowers to Emily Johanna ‘Jo’ Denison's family, please visit our floral store.
Lawrence Crawford Association for Exceptional Citizens
Lawrence County Cancer Resource Center & Wig Shoppe
Lawrenceville IL 62439