Dietz, Joanne "Jo" C.
Joanne "Jo" C. Dietz
Deceased: November 30, 2013
A private celebration of life will occur at a later date in Pennsylvania
Joanne (Jo) C. Dietz, 79 years, unexpectedly passed away Saturday, 30 November 2013, at her home in Chicago, Illinois. Joanne was the daughter of the late Albert and Michelina Acquafondata Tonti and sister of the late Jeanne Moran. She was born in Columbus, Ohio, but spent most of her life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, raising four children and retiring from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She was living in Chicago near her daughter, Joni, for the past ten years.
Joanne is survived by her four adult children: Mark T., and his wife, Joan Dietz; Matthew J.; Joni (Tucci) and her husband David Tucci; and John A.; five grandchildren: Gretchen L. Dietz, Marcus M. Dietz, Eleanor M. Dietz, Andrea M. Tucci and Johnny Tucci.
A private celebration of life will occur at a later date in Pennsylvania.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in her name, Jo Dietz, to:
The Salvation Army (Unfortunately the Salvation Army is not set up to inform the family of your donation.):
Online notes of condolences to the family may be given at:
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” These words of Mitch Albom ring very true in the passing of Jo Dietz. Many have enjoyed connections with Jo that are certain to last their lifetimes. With only 79 years on this earth, she developed bonds with thousands of individuals, household pets, and even the squirrels at the park.
She would talk with anyone at any age from any walk of life. Mom possessed a perfect combination of “wisdom of the ages” and playfulness rarely seen in many of us. If you met her, you liked her. If you knew her for any length of time, you found her spirit uplifting and transformative. She would make anybody feel at home, loved, and important.
Her honesty and genuineness were immediately apparent. A kind word, an anticipation of the needs of others, and a keen awareness of her surroundings put Mom at a level of sensitivity and kindness to which we all aspire.
If you ever had the opportunity to share a visit with Mom, let’s hope you liked exercise. Mom was always on the move. Anyone who went for a walk with her, perhaps 8 to 12 miles the norm, understood. And it was not just the fast paced gait that guaranteed many calories would be burned; it was as if you were walking with Chicago’s favorite daughter. Mom’s arm waving never ceased for the entire journey. She spoke with everyone, knew everyone’s face and name, even dogs' names! And, she got a smile from each and every life she contacted. There was the sense that Mom’s main mission every day was to make life a little better for others whether she knew them or not.
She truly believed that she was blessed. She bragged about her 4 children; but when it came to conversations about her 5 wonderful grandchildren, there was a brilliant and joyful gleam in her eyes!
In a recent conversation Mom remarked, “You know I wake up every morning with a feeling like I am still that little 19 year old girl and then when I get to the mirror I realize I am not.“ Then she smiled with her big blue eyes, as though she was thinking, “No matter, let’s go enjoy the day.”
Some years back, Mom and one of her children were shopping for a gift for one of the grandchildren. Apparently a certain “Thomas the Train” engine was a Christmas must-have that year. After searching in four stores, the special engine could not be found anywhere. The search continued to the fifth store, and voilà, the elusive gift was found. A sigh of relief emitted from Mom’s searching partner. A brief moment later, a woman approached and asked Mom, if that was the “Tom Train” everyone was talking about. Well, Mom said it was and then proceeded to offer the train to her which the woman accepted gratefully. When Mom was reminded that it was the last one, she smiled and said, “It will be okay because we can get a different gift.”
Up to Mom’s last day, she modeled a life of giving. Indeed, you may have been the benefactor of Mom’s graciousness as she constantly bought hot and cold beverages for complete strangers at her favorite coffee shops - a tradition the family will continue and hopefully Mom’s friends may do so, too.
Yes, Mom took giving, caring, sensitivity, awareness, and love to new levels. She had smarts, and the make-up of a woman much, much younger. We are all truly blessed to have witnessed how one person can affect so many people and in such positive ways. Mom was, and even in death, continues to be an example of how life is to be lived.
- December 6, 2013
My condolences to the Dietz family for your loss. Though I did not know Joanna/"Mom" it's clear from the moving obituary that she was a special and remarkable lady - and part of a very special and loving family. May you keep those blessings and each other dearly.
- December 6, 2013
Dear Joni and Family:
My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you at this time. Knowing Jo was one of the greatest joys of my life. Her passing will leaves a hole in my heart and I hope all your memories give you comfort now.
- December 6, 2013
Please know that Jo (Dietz) is in our prayers. What a wonderful woman and mom she was. May her love and joy for life be always in your hearts.
John and Kerrie Sadler
- December 6, 2013
To the family of Joanne Dietz:
That was a beautiful obituary. Our family was certainly a recipient of her generosity and vivacity in life! What a wonderful woman! She will be fondly remembered.
- December 8, 2013
Jo Dietz; only about a million different snapshots go through my mind: answering AiP’s phone with the sexiest voice this side of Mae West, directing people left and right around the school. Jo; always with time to listen. She helped a young, scared girl feel good about working at AiP. Jo and I started at AiP within days of each other. A friendship of love and respect began.
No one quote could ever hope to encapsulate Jo’s impact on those she met, but I like the one below:
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~ Maya Angelou
Dear Dietz and Tucci families, sending prayers of peace.
- December 8, 2013
Joni and Family,
I just read about your Mom's passing in the Post Gazette. I am sending our sincere condolences to you, Joni, and your brothers and your families. I have very fond memories of Jo, spending time in her warm home with you for many years. She was a great lady and her laughter will be missed.
Patti O'Rourke Owen and Family
- December 8, 2013
Jo was an amazing woman and one of those people I run into occasionally that makes me realize just how much farther I have to go to be the kind of person I really want to be myself. She will be very much missed by all of us at 60657 Lofts and we will especially miss her at our condo meetings where she turned sometimes mundane meetings into interesting ones!
- December 9, 2013
To the Dietz Family -
I worked with Joanne for 15 years at AIP. She played an important role in talking to everyone who called and greeting students,families and guests. Always professional and happy, Joanne was a positive person and a cherished co-worker. Joanne managed a busy switchboard and was "info central" for hundreds of people every day. She had a great sense of fashion, a great attitude and she loved to help. I had a chance to see her an AIP party a few years ago, she was ageless and all smiles. All of my sympathy to the family. I know she will be missed.
- December 10, 2013
Dearest Joni and family,
Words cannot express my condolences on the sudden loss of your mother. I remember her beaming at the musicals and the pride in which she savored every note and dance step. The smile when she talked to me about Johnny as Will Rogers remains fresh in my mind. Her effervescent spirit and love of her family will remain in all our hearts forever.
With love, The Nasser's
December 12, 2013
Mark, Matt, Joni and John ~
Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel about the passing of Grandma Jo. Grandma Jo was truly and outgoing, kind and compassionate person who only saw the best in people. As indicated within the reflection message qualities we all aspire to. Please accept our heartfelt sympathies and know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Steve & Robin
December 17, 2013
I always told Jo she was the first friend I ever made at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. When I went for my interview, I sat across from her desk as I waited, and she and I hit it off right from the moment I sat down. She was so friendly and put me at great ease as we began talking about ourselves and our lives. When I did get the job, she and I continued to get to know each other and became good friends. Sometimes during my hour commute to work I would call her and we would chat about the upcoming day. When she moved to Chicago to be closer to Joni and her family, I would always visit her when I made trips to Chicago. She always welcomed me and my children with open arms and we would spend hours together walking around the neighborhood. I met all her friends at the local coffee shops and around the neighborhood whom she knew by name. When I finally moved to Chicago myself, Jo and I continued to spend time together. She was always fun to be with and our visits included much laughter, talks of common friends and our work at AiP, and always updates on our families. I got to know all about Jo's children and grandchildren from those visits and felt I knew them so well by how much she shared with great love and pride. My life was better because of my friendship with Jo and she taught me to enjoy each and every moment with those I loved and even the stranger on the street because we were all a part of this great world Jo knew we lived in. I will miss her deeply as she gave much love and life to the world around her, and yet I believe all this will carry on because of her own love and life.
December 21, 2013
Joanne C. Dietz family.
Deepest sympathies in the passing of your mom. I had coffee with her many morning when she worked at the art institute in pgh. Our coffee group started our days off great...with laughter among friends.
December 23, 2013
To the Tucci family: Joni, David, Andrea, and Johnny,
My prayers are with you during this difficult time.
I will never forget meeting Jo for the first time in 2002. It was the Summer party atop the roof deck of the condo building. I looked over at one of the tables and heard a bubbly laugh, and there was Jo in the middle of a conversation with her family members and other new friends. Her laugh was contagious, she had curious blue eyes and a smile that went on forever. It was then I introduced myself and a great friendship began. Over the past ten years, Jo has opened her home to me to enjoy a glass of wine, coffee and lively conversation. Her beautiful display of historical Chicago books adorned her coffee table, pub table and her "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" refrigerator reminder to make time for fun as well. The neighborhood Starbucks on Lincoln and Paulina became our weekly meet-n- greet where we caught with one another, chatting and laughing about either one's latest escapades. I cherish these memories and Jo's words of encouragement and joy for life will live with me always. My deepest condolences to all of you, in the loss of your mother, mother-in-law and grandmother, Tucci family.
A reflection from a book and T.S. Elliot quote as special memory of coffee with my friend Jo:
"It's not so much the coffee as the ritual. Take a break from the raging world. Permit yourself to relax and change pace. Chat with friends, or savor the solitude. Free your mind. Smile from the inside."
"I have measured my life with coffee spoons." T.S. Elliot
February 11, 2014
I want to express my sympathy to Mark Dietz. I was sorry to see that his Mother had passed away. Years ago I worked in the mailroom at "HUP" in Monroeville PA. There was a Mark Dietz, a customer service rep there and left to work in Chicago, if this is the same Mark, I wanted to say hello, I still use his fruit dip recipe and have a painting from the old company, of which I thought was his (of lines of dripping paint). Nevertheless, my sincere sympathy on the loss of your Mother,