Jo Ann Chandler 1935 – 2019

PIERRE, SD – Jo Ann Chandler, 84, of Pierre, died Monday, April 15, 2019 at Avera Maryhouse in Pierre. Memorial services will be at 9am on Friday, April 19, 2019 at First United Methodist Church in Pierre.

Arrangements have been placed in the care of Isburg Funeral Chapel. Online condolences may be made at

Jo was born April 1, 1935 to Tony and Alice (Liebsch) Kjerulff on her grandparent’s farm near Arlington, SD. As a young child she spent a lot of time with her brothers, Everett and Dale, on the farms of both sets of grandparents. She was in fifth grade when the family moved to Watertown, SD. Jo graduated from Watertown High School in 1953. During the summers, she worked at the Lake Poinsett Methodist Camp for five years.
She attended Dakota Wesleyan University and Northern State College, obtaining a two year teaching certificate in 1956. Jo taught second grade in Lewiston, MT, until moving to Pierre in 1956 where she taught fourth grade at Lincoln School for eight years. On November 27, 1957 Jo married Melvin Chandler in Watertown.
Jo and Melvin were blessed with the birth of their daughter Laurie Jo on July 5, 1964. Jo taught seventh grade Life Science at the Pierre Junior High, room 35, retiring in 1995. Jo said that one of the great pleasures, after 40 years in the classroom, was having former students seek out and greet her. After her retirement Jo worked at Beverly’s, The Hollywood Shop, and Capital City Florist.
From 1957 to 1990, the highlight of each summer was playing golf with Lorraine Ellwein, which included a fun vocabulary until August, when they cleaned it up before the school year began. To enter Jo’s home was to be invited to sit down, and to leave was to carry out something she had baked, always made with chocolate. She would also send you with the title of a new book to read.
In 2000 Jo was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, followed by chemo, scans and radiation. Losing her hair. Wigs. Losing it again. Each time her hair came back. Laurie Brandner and her family accompanied Jo on many trips to Rapid City for treatments, Wall Drug for donuts and her favorite places to shop. Rosa Iverson and her family were there with encouragement, lighting candles and saying prayers.
Jo’s granddaughter Kayla Dowling was just a phone call away, keeping the Chandler’s pills straight and trying to teach Jo to use a cell phone. Her grandsons, Alex and Kellen Robideau delighted her with their achievements in sports and scholarships. Her sister-in-law, Anthea Kjerulff, called every other Sunday afternoon with a book title to share. Her brother Dale and his wife Kathy kept the Chandler’s supplied with Vermont maple syrup and her niece Cheryl Chandler-Rosenblatt always had a new book for Jo to read.
After Mel died Jo moved to Edgewood. She began each day reading from Simple Abundance, a book heavy with underlined passages and a full history in the margins. She followed with a reading from the Upper Room and then moved to her prayer list. She left this life grateful to God for blessing her with family and friends, books and chocolate.
Jo is survived by her daughter Laurie Jo Robideau, granddaughter Kayla (Dustin) Dowling; grandsons Alex and Kellen Robideau and their dad Dave Robideau; great granddaughter Kensley Dowling; her brother Dale (Kathy) Kjerulff and their daughter Holly; sister-in-law Anthea Kjerulff and her daughters Lisa and Elaine; and niece Cheryl Chandler-Rosenblatt. She is also survived by dear friends; Lorraine Ellwein, Tom and Laurie Brandner and their children; Pamela, Amy and Drew; and Jim and Rosa Iverson and their children; JJ, Angie, Christopher and Ashley.
Jo was preceded in death by her parents Tony and Alice Kjerulff, her husband Melvin, her brother Everett and her great granddaughter Harper Dowling.