4780 N. University Ave., Provo 
OFFICES: Orem, Park City & Heber City
Phone: (801) 405-7444
Fax: (801) 841-9702


Dorothea Atkinson

Joanna Atkinson

Tuesday, May 25th, 1937 - Sunday, November 15th, 2020
Recommend this to your friends.
Share via:

Sign in to the Family Interactive Login

The Family Interactive feature enhances An Amazing Life. Authorized family members can securely access their loved one's memorial website settings at any time.

Share Book of Memories with a Friend

Please enter the name and email details so that we can send your friend a link to the online tribute. No names or addresses will be collected by using this service.

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

To share your memory on the wall of Joanna Atkinson, sign in using one of the following options:

Sign in with Facebook


Sign in with your email address

Your condolence has been posted successfully

Provide comfort for the family by sending flowers or planting a tree in memory of Joanna Atkinson

No Thanks

Contact Funeral Home

Please enter your question or comment below:

Email Sent

Your email has been sent.

Joanna Atkinson's Tribute Fund

  •  Full Name
  •  Initials
  •  Anonymous
By continuing, you agree with the terms and privacy policy.

Joanna Atkinson's Tribute Fund

There may be a delay while processing. Please do not click the back button or refresh while a payment is processing.


Joanna Atkinson slipped peacefully from this life into the next on Sunday, November 15, 2020 of COVID related symptoms. The final labored breaths of her extraordinary 83 years were spent soaking in the love of her family—both virtually and in person. She smiled sweetly as she lovingly embraced the hands of two of her four children while the rest of the family shared peaceful affirmations of love through the miracle of technology.

To say that Joanna led a marvelous life would be selling her contributions to this world short. Dorothea Joanna Jenson was born on May 25, 1937, in Pocatello, Idaho, to James William Jenson and Dorothea Crowell Jenson.

Life in Pocatello was simple, yet fun. But when Joanna (known to many as Jo) was seven, her dad got a job helping build the 405 freeway in Los Angeles. So they packed up and left Idaho for their rightful home—the beach. The family settled in the LA suburb of Glendora, eventually became a family of six—Bill, Dorothea, Jo, Toni, Jim, and Susi. Jo quickly fell in love with sunshine, palm trees and sandy beaches, and, quite frankly, never looked back.

Joanna spent her teenage years galivanting around Southern California with her sisters and friends, from beaches to dances to movies to wherever the day took them. She graduated from Citrus High School and Citrus College, in Glendora, and eventually Brigham Young University, where she met the love of her life—John Horace Atkinson.

Joanna went by many things—Jo, Mom, Grandma, Mucka, Gaga, GG, but she was never anything but Babe to her beloved companion, John. John and Jo spent 45 glorious years married together on earth before his passing in February of 2007. We can only imagine his excitement as he welcomed her into Heaven with open arms and a sarcastic remark such as, “Babe, what took you so long?”.

John and Joanna met at a BYU dance, where, according to legend, she asked him for the first dance, and the rest is history. Their love affair culminated in marriage in the Los Angeles Temple, in August, 1961. Upon graduating from BYU, Joanna taught 2nd and 3rd grade in Orem. After John graduated from BYU, the lovebirds moved back to Glendora, where three of their four children were born. John built homes while Joanna continued to teach school until retiring when their first son, John, was born, followed by Kim and Billy. Even though she retired from teaching decades ago, everyone who met her came away knowing they’d learned from the best. Whether it was how to use proper punctuation, where to put the forks in a proper place setting, or how to properly treat others.

In 1975, the family of five picked up and moved back to Provo, where Robert, the baby, was born. John built their dream home in Quail Valley, and it will always be the family’s true home—even all these years after moving away. John and Joanna created an environment where everyone felt at home. College students stayed for a semester, old friends stayed for a week, and friends were always welcome to crash for a sleepover. The door was open, the Coke was flowing, the cookies were plentiful, and the pool table was hopping.

In 1987, they started Insta-Chain, the family business that became a huge part of their lives, with every member of the family filling pretty much every role at some point or another. John made it a point to show his Babe as much of this great world as possible, so the couple visited several countries, both for work and pleasure, including Spain, England, Sweden, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and more. The family’s fondest memories are of crisscrossing the country on countless road trips. Whether to the Four Corners, tradeshows in West Virginia, Atkinson family reunions in North Carolina, historical visits to DC, or endless trips back home for beach days, In-N-Out burgers, and the family favorite—Disneyland. And everywhere in between.

The kids were everything for Joanna, as she chauffeured them and their gaggle of friends to the University Mall, Trafalga, Hogle Zoo, The Wilk, and wherever else they asked to go. She loved and spoiled all four in their own way. When the children left the house, they were always sent off with “remember who you are and what you represent”. Every good thing we have done in life is because of the love and nurturing of our mom and dad. Period.

The real-life Mary Poppins, Joanna had everything you ever needed in her purse. From Chapstick to nail clippers to a pen and paper. And of course, a stick of gum. There was always gum, and she’d even take the wrapper from you, because that’s the kind of gal she was. Oh, and no one, and I mean no one, had more perfect handwriting than Jo. Her cursive looked like it was designed by the world’s most sophisticated computer.

Jo got her hair done by close friend Janelle every single week for 45 years! And speaking of loyalty, she’s been the world’s greatest Los Angeles Dodgers fan since she was a little girl. We even wondered if she was holding on to this life just long enough to see them win the World Series one more time—less than three weeks before she passed away. Maybe it’s a good thing they kept losing the past few seasons so we could have her with us a few more years.

In her later years, when she wasn’t with family or watching the Dodgers, Joanna enjoyed her time serving in the Missionary Training Center, and every Wednesday in the Provo Temple. She cherished the spirit in those two special places, and was touched by all those she worked with.

But as great as those church callings were for Jo, there was no greater call than that of a grandma. Her grandkids were her life, and she was their biggest cheerleader, making it a point to be at almost every piano recital, rock concert, dance competition, school performance, soccer, basketball, and baseball game, and wherever else their talents were on display.

Joanna left an indelible mark on everyone she met. She was everyone’s friend, everyone’s second mom. She didn’t have to try, she just was the greatest of all time. Every good thing we have done in life is because of the love and nurturing of our mom and dad. Period. It’s a known fact that heaven just got a lot cooler.

Joanna was preceded in death by her sweetheart John, her mom and dad, her brother, Jim, and sister, Susi. She is survived by her sister Toni Hancock; her four children John, Kim, Billy, and Robert; their spouses, Ana Atkinson, Alan Taylor, Sarah Atkinson, and Melissa Atkinson; along with her 12 grandchildren—Jessica (Jordan) Campbell, Sandra Atkinson, Elder Alex Atkinson, Kassi Taylor, Mallorie Taylor, Jake Taylor, Court Taylor, Penny Atkinson, Dexter Atkinson, Danny Atkinson, Elliot Atkinson, Charlie Atkinson, plus one more on the way; and one great-grand child, Grayson Campbell.

The family would like to give extra special thanks to Dr. Mike Pearce, Dr. Ian Mecham, and the nursing staff of the Utah Valley Hospital COVID ICU for the unending love during tireless hours at Joanna’s side. You have no idea how much we appreciate the love and dignity in which you cared for Joanna. God bless you in your efforts.

A private funeral will be held on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 11:00 am. Joanna will be buried at the Provo City Cemetery after a private graveside service after the funeral. There will be a public viewing held Saturday, November 28, from 6:00-8:00 pm at Nelson Family Mortuary in Provo. Due to the current pandemic, masks will be required, and only ten visitors will be allowed in the viewing at a time. In order to social distance more effectively, visitors please click on the RSVP button below to schedule a time.

For those who would like to be part of the funeral, it will be streamed via the following link: Funeral Services
Read Less

Sign Up for Notifications

Receive notifications about information and event scheduling for Joanna Atkinson

Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday, November 28th, 2020 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Saturday, November 28th, 2020 6:00pm - 8:00pm
    Nelson Family Mortuary
    4780 N. University Ave.
    PROVO, UT 84604
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email

Purchase Flowers

Consider providing a gift of comfort for the family of Joanna Atkinson by sending flowers.

Purchase Flowers


We encourage you to share your most beloved memories of Joanna Atkinson here, so that the family and other loved ones can always see it. You can upload cherished photographs, or share your favorite stories, and can even comment on those shared by others.

No video recorded.

Private Condolence

David Kaiser

Posted at 01:40pm
John/Ana & family,
Our heartfelt condolences at this time of grieving. We appreciated the time of living across the street from your family, and it was so kind and generous to open your home to your mother these past few years. Though you miss her, there is solace is knowing she is reunited with her eternal companion and other family members beyond the veil. May Heavenly Father comfort and bless your family during this time
David & Barbara Kaiser

Kerri Henderson

Posted at 04:17pm
So sorry to hear of Joanna's passing. She was always so kind to me. I enjoyed our chats about the Dodger's and California. Truely a beautiful daughter of God. ❤

Lee Goodrich

Posted at 08:57am
I met Joanna & John when I was recruited By Ehret Kowalk to help them move John's office from the corner of 8th N & 2nd W. It was a match made in heaven. Their home became my go to place to escape and rejuvenate. I was always welcome and made to feel like part of the family. I enjoyed watching the kids grow up, get married and have family's of their own. Watching them get Insta-chain started and grow it in to the successful business that it is. I was happy for Joanna to get to see the Dodger's win one more championship. Thanks for the memories and even more so the love that was shared by being a part of their lives. Until we meet again Joanna, I love you and I will miss you . Lee Goodrich

Ursula DeLeeuw

Posted at 11:46pm
I have fond memories of Joanna. She was my daughter, Kristi Cullimore’s Relief Society President and talked at Kristi’s funeral in January 2009. We met for lunch every year for a few years after Kristi died and would share what was happening in our families. Things got pretty busy when she went to work at the MTC and then as a Temple worker. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards every year, and I was looking forward to hearing about her family this year only to go on line and see that she’s gone to a better place. I’ll miss hearing from her telling me how much she loved her family and how proud she was of each one of her children and grandchildren. I want each of her family to know what an amazing, wonderful lady she was. She truly lived as she taught and was kind to all. I’ll miss her. My love and condolences go out to her family. Love to all of you, Ursula DeLeeuw

Jennifer Lamb

Posted at 01:19am
Atkinsons- My heart is with you all at this time. I have nothing but fond memories of Joanna and my time at Insta-Chain. She was an incredible woman and her loss will be felt by all who knew her. I smile as I picture her reunion with John Sr, I can hear his endearing "Hi, babe" as I think about it. I'm sorry I won't be able to pay my respects in person, but I will be there in spirit. You are an amazing family and I know you will all endure together.

Photos & Videos

Photo Album

Upload up to 10 images at a time, max 8MB each
Share by: