COUNCIL BLUFFS — JoAnn Carrithers, a past president and longtime member of the Council Bluffs school board who advocated for renovations in the 1980s to Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson High Schools, died Thursday at Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs. She was 82.
Carrithers made certain the community was well informed regarding student and school needs, said former superintendent Dick Christie, 68, of Council Bluffs.
He credited that leadership to Carrithers’ service on the Council Bluffs school board from 1980 to 1992, including four terms as president, two as vice president and one year to fill a vacancy.
“The Council Bluffs community schools were an area where she focused a lot of her energy and time,” Christie said. “I was always astounded at the amount of time she invested in being a school board member.”
Carrithers was serving as board president at the time the district passed a $5.4 million project in 1984 to renovate the two high schools.
Rita Sealock, 78, of Council Bluffs, who replaced Carrithers as school board president after she decided to not run in 1992, said Carrithers was a close friend, always ready to listen.
Carrithers was a 1950 graduate of Abraham Lincoln. After high school, she began working as an operator and information receptionist at Northwestern Bell Telephone Co.
She left the company to work for G.B. Architects and eventually met her husband, Ira Thomson “Tom” Carrithers Jr. They worked side by side for 20 years. She retired in 1994 and then worked as an executive assistant at Deloitte in Omaha. She retired again in 2012.
Carrithers served as a board member of the American Heart Association and education committee chairwoman for the Iowa West Foundation, and also held several other positions in Pottawattamie County, Council Bluffs and Omaha.
She also was a member of the Beta Sigma Phi service sorority and was inducted into the Abraham Lincoln High School Hall of Fame in 2012.
Christie said Carrithers was proud to be a Council Bluffs native.
“She was a lifelong Council Bluffs resident and took a lot of pride in that,” he said. “She cared for the community. Without a doubt, she was a great individual.”
Carrithers is survived by her son Michael Carrithers of Olathe, Kan.; grandchildren Stephen and Alexis Carrithers; sisters Donna Barnes of Wyandotte, Mich., and Rose Marie “Cookie” Wood of Council Bluffs; and cousin Arlene Gustafson of Irwin, Iowa.
There will be a visitation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight at Cutler-O’Neill-Meyer-Woodring Bayliss Park Chapel, 545 Willow Ave. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday. Memorials can be made to Children’s Square U.S.A.