Virginia Joan “Jo” Aeschbach, 89, passed away peacefully in her home on New Year’s Eve, after a brief illness. She was amazingly healthy, living independently and managing her own affairs. She was predeceased by her husband Lehner Franklin Aeschbach, and leaves two daughters, Sara Aeschbach (Toppy) and Ann Aeschbury (John) and four grandchildren (Alex, Greer, Magda and Madeline) and one great-grandchild Erastus.
Jo was born on February 27, 1930 in Peoria Illinois and grew up in her beloved hometown of Washington, Illinois. She was the only child of George Wellington “Cap” Heyl and Florence Virginia “Ginny” Albertsen, and the much loved niece of her two paternal aunts, Florence and Iona. To her delight, her extended family owned and operated the Heyl Pony Farm where she spent many happy childhood years riding Shetland and Hackney ponies and nearly living in the barns. She often would express how fortunate she was to have had this upbringing.
Jo graduated from Washington Community High School and attended her first two years of college at Illinois Wesleyan University. She graduated in education from Michigan State College. She was an elementary teacher in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she met her husband. The couple lived in Chicago, Illinois and then lived in Akron Ohio for most of their years. They were active members of Bath Church, and enjoyed close long-term friendships there. In retirement, Jo started an antique business, and worked with Lehn to source, purchase, refinish and sell antique country furniture. In 2007, they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Jo was a quiet, humble person without pretense. She held close values developed during the depression, including family, patriotism, and self reliance. Although many wanted to help her with daily tasks during her elderly years, she insisted on handling everything herself. Jo was a short and quiet woman, and perhaps because of that, her sharp wit and complete independence could be overlooked by the less observant. Actually, she managed the family finances throughout her entire marriage, in addition to being an entrepreneur, facilitator and a rock for the family.
Jo was a proud and supportive mother and grandmother who always rooted for her family and expressed gratitude for them. She was a solid foundation to whom family turned for help with life’s big hurdles: career changes, moves, babies, dentist visits, etc.. Her family knew they could count on her even when they disagreed. More than anything, they will remember that unyielding support, encouragement and commitment to family.