Jo Ann Quinlan

Jo Ann Quinlan

Jo Ann Quinlan

Cedar Rapids

Jo Ann Quinlan of Cedar Rapids died in her sleep on Wednesday, May 10, 2023.

Jo was born on Oct. 10, 1948, and was the second of 13 children born to J.D. and Anita Quinlan of West Branch. She graduated from West Branch High School in 1966 as a National Merit Scholar and attended the University of Iowa on a full scholarship before choosing to pursue other passions.

Once a flower child of the ’60s who protested the Vietnam War, she combined her love for motorcycles and music by joining a California biker club. She worked in PR in music publishing when hippie bands and folk music were popular. While working at the famous Fillmore West venue, she crossed paths with many stars, including Grace Slick and Jerry Garcia. She settled in San Francisco in the early 1970s with her two young children, living there until returning to Iowa in 1981 for a job at Oakdale with the Iowa Department of Corrections. She discovered another passion there and won several state and national shooting competitions while serving as the first female weapons instructor for the IDOC.

She met and married a co-worker at Oakdale, Les Butterbaugh, and they settled in Cedar Rapids. They enjoyed many motorcycle trips together, including several rides to Sturgis, S.D. Jo, who retired in 2004, never lost her wanderlust for travel, and crossed the country many times with her daughter, visiting all 50 states as well as trips abroad to Spain, Ireland, Great Britain, Iceland and Peru, to name a few.

She also discovered Afternoon Tea celebrations in her travels and never missed an opportunity to put on a fancy hat and indulge that passion. Known as “Aunt Hoey” to her many nieces and nephews as well as close friends and their children, Jo kept family first and would always help siblings and friends in their time of need. She loved decorating for every holiday and sharing her passion for books and Irish music with others. Her smile and laugh were infectious.

She is survived by her husband, Les; her children, Josephine Velles and John (Yasmine Razai) Velles and their children, Alex and Finn, and two step-grandchildren; Amanda (Steve) Lowe and Tavia Holderness, and great-grandchildren, Aleah Lowe and Sean Pierce.

She was preceded in death by her parents; first husband, Bill Diers; and her siblings include: Mary (Richard) Doyle, Patti Quinlan, Jeanne (Gary) Carter, Jim (Linda) Quinlan, Judy Jasper, Tom (Susan) Quinlan, Coleen Quinlan, Mike (Faith) Quinlan, Johnita Quinlan, Maureen (John) Krob, Daniel Quinlan and David Quinlan.

Because Jo loved celebrating her birthday on a beautiful fall day, a Celebration of Life will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023. Details will be shared at a later date. A memorial fund has been established in her name at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.

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