Jo Ann Viator Yarnell, passed away peacefully after a long five year fight with dementia on July 3, 2022.
She was born on September 22, 1958 in New Iberia, LA, the daughter of Wildes and Nelies Viator and the youngest sister of Tuela Viator DeRitter and Brenda Viator Broussard.
She is preceded in death by her grandparents, parents, sisters and two grandchildren, Holden Rose and Evelyn Netherton.
She is survived by her son, Tyler Scott Yarnell (Katie), her daughter, Melissa Netherton (Taylor), her grandchildren, Hunter Rose, Harlynn Rose and Mills Netherton, her best friend for life, Linda Clements Verret, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, and friends.
After graduating from New Iberia Senior High School in 1976, she attended the Delta School of Business where she obtained her Executive Secretarial certification. Shortly after that, she began her career as a 911 operator with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Department before moving to New Iberia Police Department from where she would eventually retire. Her “retirement” included being a substitute teacher at Castor High School, funeral attendant at David’s Funeral Home, and the unofficial scorekeeper for the Shreveport Captains baseball team.
A blind date set up by a coworker, in the early 2000s, led to something Jo Ann had always longed for: the gift of motherhood. Tyler was the brown-eyed absolute joy of her life. Every milestone was accounted for and celebrated and she was never anything but loud and proud about it. Being Tyler’s mom was an honor and she proudly sat front row anywhere he and his baseball team took her with her Dr. Pepper and BBQ chips.
She also acquired a bonus daughter, Melissa, who unfortunately was well into her terrible teenage years but Jo Ann loved her nevertheless, then spoiled her grandchildren from that relationship with unfettered love and affection as well. Over the last five years, Melissa, along with Jo Ann’s favorite caretaker, Tamara Turner, ensured that she was cared for, loved and had a hand hold to the very end.
She loved music, so much so that she owned every 8track/cassette/CD imaginable. In her youth, she sat in her special chair and listened to her headphones while watching tv. She loved being both an aunt and a great aunt to her nieces and nephews, bragging about and spoiling them regularly. In Jo Ann’s opinion, every occasion warranted a card or note littered with bold “I love yous” and exclamations. She only liked hamburger meat if it was burned and she always made sure everyone had ample snacks for a road trip, even if it was a short one.
Even though dementia ruled the last five years of her life, taking away her signature red hair, her contagious laugh and so many other things we will forever miss, she made a resounding impact on those she left behind.
The family would like to express their gratitude for the loving and compassionate care that Jo Ann received while at Grace Home.
A memorial service is being planned for a later date and in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Dementia Society of America in her memory.