Josephine Anne Lutz

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:


8 Condolences

  1. Virgil and Jan Dean on November 7, 2020 at 9:36 am

    This is a lovely remembrance of a life well lived. Knowing her, learning from her and working beside her was a joy. May she rest in peace.

  2. Emilie Meyer on November 8, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    My deepest sympathy but also praise to God for His faithfulness in Aunt Josie’s life of faith. Blessings to you all, Emilie (Don and Lois)

  3. Ann C Porter & Shelly Burgoon on November 9, 2020 at 9:59 am

    What a life well lived – such a beautiful tribute to Jo. She was a very special person that we had the privilege of getting to know several years back at Jennifer’s home. Thank you for sharing her spirit with us. I know she will be missed and we send our love and support to you Jennifer and your whole family during this time.

  4. Shawn Reaves and Sharon Laverentz on November 11, 2020 at 6:52 am

    It was good to learn more about your mom through this beautiful tribute to her life. We so enjoyed talking with her at your house over the years. Losing a mother is difficult and you have our deepest sympathy.

  5. Mary Gerant and Penny Steelman on November 11, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Such a sweet and accomplished woman! We were lucky to meet her and spend a little time with her. We remember the evening she led us around the Spencer Museum as our docent. That was such a fun evening! We also remember the delicious tarts she made for the 4th of July celebrations. Jennifer, we send our love to you and your family. She will live on through you. Peace to you all.

  6. LeAnn (Linkugel) ward on November 16, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    I have many good memories from my childhood days at Immanual Luthern and Jo Lutz is very much a part of them. I am sad to hear of her passing; yet I know she is with her Lord and Savior. She was an amazing and wonderful person. I am sorry I was unable to attend the services today. My heart is with you.

  7. Lindsey Pendry on November 16, 2020 at 3:49 pm


    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. She sounds like a wonderful treasure as a Mother and a person. May all your memories keep flowing and sustain you during the difficult times.

  8. Leah Rurode on November 17, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Sending my condolences to Jo’s family for her loss. I met Jo when she enrolled students for Independent Study classes. I worked in the Textbook Department of the K.U. Bookstore, and was assigned this as part of my specialty. IS books were not shelved with the regular texts to insure they would be available for those IS enrolled students. Some books were out of print, therefore unavailable for us to purchase more copies. Jo was always meticulous about these book numbers before she enrolled each. Students might show up at the counter to buy the book or I might be contacted and given their information so I could send books out of the store. Working with Jo was one of my favorite parts of my bookstore experience. Until I read her obituary I had no idea she had spread her talents to so many, so far. I am not surprised. Soar high Jo.

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