Josephine Anne Lutz, born August 13, 1927, passed away peacefully on November 2, 2020 at Brookdale East in Wichita, Kansas at the age of 93. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, November 16, 2020 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lawrence. Burial will follow at Stoney Point Cemetery in Baldwin City, KS.
Jo was blessed with an abundant life. A beloved wife, mother and grandmother, Jo spent her early life in Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado and Atchison, Kansas as a Lutheran minister’s daughter, sharing adventures with two sisters and two brothers. Her parents were Dr. John E. Herrmann and Amalia “Mollie” Hartmann. An L.C.M.S. Kansas District stewardship role took Rev. Herrmann and family to Winfield, Kansas where Jo graduated from St. John’s College. Upon graduation, Jo moved to St. Louis to teach first grade at Old Trinity. There she met her husband Walter while helping in a theatrical production. Walter was a recent graduate of Concordia Seminary, and ready to embark on a vicarage in Florida. He was the son of Dr. Anton J. Lutz, a Lutheran missionary to India. The couple settled in Tampa, Florida as newlyweds and had their first three children, Deborah, John and Jennifer. Jo and Walt took loving care of John, who had multiple disabilities. Their ministry led them to Crystal City, Missouri, where Rosalind was born and they enjoyed proximity to extended family in St. Louis. In 1967 Walt accepted a call to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lawrence, Kansas. Immanuel has been Jo’s church home for 53 years, where she was active in many aspects of church life including Bible Class, Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, Church Council, Worship Committee, and serving Link Meals. Jo also was a Sunday school teacher, youth group and retreat leader. Jo shared a deep faith and shared mission with the congregation at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Student Center, and enjoyed rich fellowship and many treasured friendships there.
Jo began a career in K.U.’s Continuing Education Department spanning 20 years in curriculum production and later as Student Services Manager for Independent Study. She was an innovator, made regional and national presentations, and became nationally recognized for her support of students. Jo particularly enjoyed interacting with students and was known to create “an oasis of helpfulness and calm that inspired confidence in instructors and students.” Jo earned her B.A. in Education at K.U. while working full-time, and graduated the same day as her daughter Jennifer. She retired in 1990 and treasured her time with Walt until he passed away. She remained in Lawrence where Jennifer provided support to Jo and where she had many happy times with friends and family over the next 22 years. After living at Brandon Woods assisted living in Lawrence for several years, in 2019 Jo moved to Wichita where daughter Lindy cared for her, while she resided at Brookdale East in Wichita.
Jo and Walt shared a passion for travel, which they instilled in their children and grandchildren. They cohosted two European study tours for high school students, and a tour to Germany focused on Luther. Other destinations included Israel, Egypt, China and India. A long-time member of the University Women’s Club, Jo participated in Armchair travelers, Antiques Group and Informal Suppers. She enjoyed membership in the Ladies Literary League of Lawrence, and served as a Spencer Museum Docent for 15 years, providing tours to Lawrence school-aged students. She loved to hear what the children had to say. Jo continued to audit art classes at K.U. Her daughters can attest to her passion for crossword puzzles, antiques and books, and enjoyed many treasure hunts with her.
Jo was preceded in death by son John (’69), husband Walt (‘96), brother John Herrmann, and sister Teddi Steyer (Martin). She is survived by her sister Mollie Rohde, brother Frank Herrmann,
daughters Deborah West (Jeff), Jennifer Lutz, Rosalind Courington (Mark), and grandchildren
Emily Conner (Andrew), Jack Courington, Kelley Courington, Erin Courington, and great-grandsons Liam and Ellis Conner.
Jo you will be missed, your enduring faith, your guiding hand, your leadership, your humor – may they all live on in us, as you rest in everlasting peace.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League or L.I.N.K. and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.
This is the link to sign up to attend. It can be found in our ILCUSC website calendar for Nov 16, 11:00am
Here is the link to the YouTube live stream for Jo’s funeral service: https://youtu.be/NI0uqC4p6DU