Johanna Lore Gartenhaus passed away March 16, 2023 at the age of 90 at her residence in West Lafayette, IN. Jo was born on July 26, 1932 in Bonn, Germany, to Berthold and Bertha Weisz. They lived as a family near her grandparents, Morris and Johanna Heumann, in Selm, Germany. After Kristallnacht, her father escaped to Holland and then sent for Jo and her mother to join him there. They immigrated to the United States in 1939, living in Aurora, IL before finally settling in St. Charles, IL.
Jo attended high school at Mount St. Mary’s on the Fox in St. Charles, IL, and then attended The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, majoring in languages. It was there she met her beloved Sol, and they married in 1953. Jo and Sol were blessed with two sons, Michael and Kevin.
Jo stayed very busy throughout her life, working while Sol obtained his PhD, helping with typing his thesis, and later when he was writing his physics textbook. She was very active at Congregation Sons of Abraham and its Sisterhood, in Hadassah, and in local and state politics. As a faculty wife, she supported Sol in his various positions at Purdue and at many events and functions. Throughout her life she excelled at many things, including sewing, knitting, ceramics, cooking, painting, and bridge. Jo was also a fierce opponent in Scrabble and Rummikub and loved doing The New York Times crossword for many years.
She ran for the office of Tippecanoe County Clerk, served as Voter Registrar for Tippecanoe County, and worked in the local office of Congressman Floyd Fithian. She had a wide variety of friends in the Jewish community, the civic community, the Purdue community, and the community of Westminster Village where she and Sol spent their last years. She and Sol also had friends around the world from their travels to Mexico and Europe, from graduate students they had known, from temporary and sabbatical assignments, and from relatives and friends who lived in Israel. In later life, Jo started a business importing and selling Mexican artwork and artisanal crafts. She and Sol traveled to many international festivals and bazaars around the Midwest for several years in this business. Her business then led her to become very involved in the West Lafayette International Festival. Jo was also deeply involved in the annual Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference held yearly at Purdue. She held many roles for this conference over the years, including co-chair, member of the planning committee, presenter, panel member, and treasurer. In addition to her work for this conference, Jo gave presentations to classrooms in area schools and around the state on her experiences as a young child fleeing from Germany. It was difficult for her, but she considered it a duty to educate future generations about the Holocaust.
Jo was preceded in death by her husband Sol, her sons Michael and Kevin, her parents, grandparents, and aunt Hilde Suessman.
Jo is survived by daughter-in-law Jane Gilmore Gartenhaus and her sons Joseph and James, and daughter-in-law Kelly O’Brien Gartenhaus and her children Matthew, Zachary, and Lauren.
Services will be held on Monday, March 20, at Soller-Baker Funeral Home, West Lafayette Chapel, 1184 Sagamore Parkway West, West Lafayette, IN, 47906. Visitation will be at 10am, with service to follow at 11am. Interment immediately following at Sons of Abraham Cemetery, South 2nd St, Lafayette, IN. Condolences may be left at www.soller-baker.com.
Memorial contributions in Johanna’s name may be made to Congregation Sons of Abraham Synagogue, 661 N. 7th St, Lafayette, IN, 47901 or a charity of choice.