Jo Ann Bennis Roberts

Jo Ann Bennis Roberts passed away on June 2, 2021, after a multi-year battle with Lewey Body Dementia.

A private family mass will be held at the Church of the Resurrection. There will be no visitation.

Jo Ann was born in Lincoln, Illinois, daughter of Joseph and Vivian Horn Bennis. After moving to Dubuque, Jo Ann attended Nativity School, the Visitation Academy, and graduated from the then Clarke College with a BA degree in music education with piano as her major instrument.

Awarded a graduate scholarship to the University of Kansas from the National Institute for Mental Health and a research grant to Parsons State Hospital and Training Center, Jo Ann graduated from the University of Kansas with a MA in music education with an emphasis in music therapy.

Upon her return to Dubuque, Jo Ann became the music therapist for the Dubuque County Board of Education serving the mentally, physically, and emotionally challenged students of the Dubuque and Western Dubuque Community School Districts. In this position, Jo Ann established the first music therapy program in a classroom setting in the state of Iowa. She later became the Director of Music Therapy at the then Clarke College and taught music therapy classes. Jo Ann finished her career as a private piano teacher at St. Anthony’s School and in her home retiring in 2012.

An avid snow skier, Jo Ann skied the slopes of the Alps from Switzerland into Italy, the resorts of Colorado, and finally every weekday at Dubuque’s Sundown Mountain.

Surviving are Jo Ann’s husband of 47 years, Raymond Roberts, daughters Laura (Mike) Stromberg, Ames, IA, Elizabeth (Ben) Eagle of Dubuque, and a son, Jonathan (Annie Sussman) of Arlington, MA, along with three grandchildren: EsméEagle, Henry Eagle, and Jack Roberts.

Jo Ann was preceded in death by her parents, step-father Harley H. Hansel, and her brother Stephen Bennis.

Memorials may be given the Employee Appreciation Fund at Bethany Home, Hospice of Dubuque, or the Sisters of the Visitation.

Egelhof, Siegert & Casper Funeral Home and Crematory is entrusted with arrangements.

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