Sunday, July 24, 2011

A great lady, my aunt JoAn Blodgett, 1931-2011

JoAn was much younger than my mother - twenty years younger, and her large batch of kids younger than us made us very nervous when they came over to play. Her kids were in to everything and we were afraid our toys would be broken and lost in no time. JoAn was not the neat mother who had all of her kids comfortably in tow physically, but she developed the skill of inspiring and empowering them to accomplish things far beyond their apparent abilities. She wasn't a "cool" Mom, either rather one who helped them to see their mistakes and look for a better way to do it next time.

When finances pressed hard on Jack's ability to provide for their growing family, JoAn decided to help by working at home. She asked a new "key-punching" company if she could have one of their key-punch machinges installed in her garage so she could work in her spare time. She learned it so quickly she said "this is easy, I could teach my children to do it." Soon she had 9 machines installed in their garage and she was true to her word. After awhile she asked her husband, "Why should all this tremendous workforce be working for someone else?" She founded the Blodgett Key-Punch company with her husband as president and each of her children as vice-presidents of the company in charge of sales. I don't think she had an official position in the company, but everyone knew who was in charge.

I thought I was her only favorite nephew. It had to be because of genealogy, her first love. She spent hours exploring her family history, but made me feel that the Blodgett side was the most interesting. She expressed such great interest in everything I discovered on the family that I felt I was becoming a great genealogist. Grandma Blodgett had inspired her and me with great family stories, and she did the same for all her posterity.

JoAn Pritchett Blodgett was born January 9, 1931, in Mammoth, Utah, to Ernest Edwin Pritchett and Hannah Zelma Larsen Pritchett. She was the youngest of seven sisters. She was preceded in death by her parents and all six sisters. She loved spending the summers of her youth at her sister's farm in Wanship, Utah. She graduated from East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1948. She married Jack Donald Blodgett on August 10, 1949, in the Salt Lake Temple. They spent just short of 62 years together in mortality. She passed away on Friday, July 22, 2011, at her home in Sandy, Utah. She was surrounded by her family - just the way she wanted it.

JoAn leaves an incredible posterity, which includes nine children and their spouses, 61 grandchildren, and 51 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by three of her children, Nancy, Jim, and Jack, and one grandson Marques. She was an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her lifetime of service in the church included work as a teacher, Relief Society President, and temple ordinance worker with her husband in the Jordan River Temple. From her earliest years, she was a champion of genealogy and family history work. Her diligent efforts enabled her to discover genealogical gems, including photographs of some of her earliest ancestors. JoAn's love of family history work continued throughout her life and culminated in her final calling in the church as a Family History Missionary.

Her faith was unwavering, and she was an example to all. JoAn began her professional career working for her father as a teenager. She inherited her father's work ethic and his positive outlook on everything. In 1968, JoAn left a career with Mountain Bell to start a business in her home providing keypunching services in the fledgling computer industry. She was a pioneer and an innovator in many areas, including helping other women work in their homes. JoAn's keypunching business eventually grew to be the largest data entry company in the western United States. As the business grew, she never lost her personal touch with people. She was a master motivator, always encouraging others. She saw tremendous potential in everyone she met. Her cheerful, positive outlook endeared her to everyone. Many in the business world will never forget "Mrs. B.," as she was affectionately known.

In 2002, JoAn was awarded the Sandy Woman of Achievement Award. She loved to work, and she worked up until December 2010, when her health prevented her from continuing to work full-time. JoAn was fiercely loyal to her family, always encouraging and inspiring them. She was happiest when she was with her family, and wanted them around as often as possible. She was always improving herself, constantly learning new things and trying new ideas. She was a "high-tech grandma." With her sharp mind, she kept current with the latest technology and gadgets. This only added to her already special bond with young people, particularly her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. JoAn was a friend to all. She was everybody's Mom and everybody's Grandma. She was truly a person without guile. She never held grudges and was the first to forgive and look for the good in everyone. She had the ability to find the positive in everything, even the most difficult situations.

While we will miss her, we know that a glorious reunion has taken place in the spirit world, where JoAn has been reunited with two of her sons and one daughter, a grandson, her parents and sisters, and countless other friends and family. The family expresses gratitude to all who helped care for Mom during her last few months, including Julie, Viviana, Will, Marlen, Anna, and the many doctors, nurses, and others who cared for her. Funeral Services will be held Wednesday, July 27, 2011, at 12:00 p.m. in the Crescent 18th Ward Chapel, 2195 E. Pepperwood Drive (approx. 10800 South), Sandy, Utah 84092. Friends and family may call at the Larkin Sunset Gardens Tuesday, July 26, 2011, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.-1950 East 10600 South, Sandy, Utah and at the church 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Burial will be in the Holladay Cemetery.


  1. what an interesting person she was! I was glad to have met her.

  2. What an inspiring lady! I remember her and visiting their house--was she the one that had a big, spiral staircase at one time? And had a long driveway with lots of trees? Thanks, Dad, for sharing these stories.