JoAnn (Hickman) McCall passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on Dec. 20, 2023, at the age of 88. A remarkable spirit of goodness and strength, she embraced a life well-lived and was greatly beloved for her benevolence, intellect, strong will, and above all, for her fierce passion and loyalty to her family.
JoAnn was the first of 10 children born to parents Paul and Dorothy Hickman on April 20, 1935, in Denver, Colorado. The family moved to Yuma, when JoAnn was young, and she spent the balance of her youth growing up there. Two of her siblings died early, but it was still a large family by any standard.
Like most of the Hickman kids, JoAnn learned to ride a horse early on and later participated with her family in regional western riding events. Helping on the ranch, she developed a tremendous love for all animals, which later led her to breed golden retrievers. She was named the Yuma County Fair Queen as well as the High School Homecoming Queen. JoAnn was the epitome of a first-born child, learning to keep track of her siblings as needed and giving them an ample mix of affection and direction, indeed setting the stage for her later role as matriarch of the extended Hickman clan after Dorothy died in 2004.
Like all but one of her siblings, JoAnn was struck with polio in the summer of 1952, and worked hard to recover her muscle strength after leaving Children’s Hospital in Denver with seemingly endless exercises using old irons and rope strung through pulleys. She carried some of those polio-related aftereffects throughout her life, but they didn’t slow her down much until her last few years.
JoAnn graduated from Yuma Union High School in 1953. While teaching in a little country school six miles south of Yuma, she dated the high school’s star quarterback, Donald McCall. They fell in love and married during the middle of football season on Oct. 16, 1954. They didn’t have time for a honeymoon, but JoAnn’s lucky charm helped Don lead his team to win the state championship that year.
JoAnn and Don went on to attend the University of Denver where JoAnn earned a B.A. in Elementary Education with a Minor in Voice Performance in 1961. She earned an M.A. in Reading with Emphasis in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado in 1969. She continued to pursue post-graduate education throughout her career.
Believing passionately in the power of education, JoAnn and Don moved to Castle Rock and became two of the first teachers in the Douglas County School District, helping it expand from two schools to more than 70. JoAnn taught in elementary school and later served as principal at Acres Green and Rock Ridge elementary schools where she instituted the year-round school calendar. She became a supervisor of student teachers and field experience in the district.
A proud mother and grandmother, JoAnn inspired within her family a love of learning, animals, music, travel, and above all, respect, and appreciation for one another and for acts of kindness seen and unseen. To her family, she generously gave her time, her wisdom, and her unwavering support. She was often found cheering loudly at countless sporting events, exuding quiet confidence during performances and recitals, and sharing her mind treasure of wisdom that impacted so many in life-changing ways. An exceptional educator by nature and trade, she leaves a legacy of dreamers, free-thinkers and achievers, and her indelible impact will endure for years to come.
JoAnn loved to travel with friends and family throughout the United States as well as internationally. She traveled to Ireland eight times, including twice with her mother, Dorothy, to explore their family heritage. Throughout their childhood, her grandchildren were treated to adventures that enriched their lives and created lasting memories, such as taking several on their first trips overseas.
Although JoAnn never realized her dream of becoming an opera singer, she became an avid patron of Colorado Symphony Orchestra and Colorado Opera. A voracious reader, JoAnn passed her love of books on to her family; her Christmas gifts always included a book that she had specifically chosen for each one.
Taking strength and sustenance from her lifelong faith, JoAnn worshipped at St. Francis Assisi Catholic Church in Castle Rock since 1959.
JoAnn was preceded in death by her father Paul and mother Dorothy, younger siblings Gene, Mary Kathleen, Carol Lynn, Joseph, and Eileen. She is survived by her beloved husband of nearly 70 years, Donald, and their four children, Mick and his wife Joanne, Kathleen and her husband Kent, Randy and his wife Laurie, and Jonna and her husband Fred, her sisters Teresa and Elizabeth, and brothers Richard and Robert. Also surviving are fifteen grandchildren, Ashley and Russ, Brittany and Randy, Stacey and Jay, Stephanie and Tom, Alexander and Barbra, Taylor, Donnie and Bradi, Grayson, and Quinn as well as five great-grandchildren and numerous other extended family members and dear friends.
The McCall family invites the community to join them at a Funeral Mass and Service at 11 a.m., on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Castle Rock. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the American Association of University Women, Douglas County branch in her loving memory. Attn: Marsha Johnson, 305 Deer Crossing, Castle Rock, CO 80104.