NLJ Staff

Sept. 1, 1945–Nov. 7, 2022

JoAnn Hawk was born in Newcastle, Wyo., to Roy and Beulah Cool on Sept. 1, 1945. JoAnn was the youngest of seven children. She graduated high school with the class of 1962.

She married her first husband, Bill Wrage, a year or two after graduation and had two children, a daughter, Willie Jo Wrage on July 23, 1964, and a son, Steven Roy Wrage on Sept. 3, 1966.

They divorced in 1972 and she moved to Billings, Mont., after being accepted into the Mountain Plains Family Training Program. Upon completion of the program, she moved to Cheyenne, Wyo., where she got a job working at the state capital as a secretary. Soon after starting there, she was offered a better secretarial job at the Mountain Plains Family Training Program main office in Cheyenne.

She worked for Vern Hawk there for five years. Then, the program ended, and she married Vern Hawk. Shortly after that she moved to Lodi, Calif., where she worked at the Lodi Grape Festival office until 1985 when her son graduated high school.

After that JoAnn enrolled in college and achieved her master’s degree in Sociology and graduated valedictorian of her class. She went on to teach at Delta College in Stockton, Calif., and UC Stanislaus in Stanislaus, Calif.

She is preceded in death by her first husband, Bill Wrage; her daughter, Willie Jo Wrage Benson Hawk; and her second husband, Vern Hawk. 

She is survived by two of her sisters, Martha Hokanson and Betty Shults; her son, Steven Wrage; two granddaughters, Tangela Rose Love and Shawnee Lee Wrage; her great-granddaughter, Erl (Ember Rose Love); and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and many, many friends. 

JoAnn was an extraordinary treasure who not only brightened the lives of the ones who knew her, but also made the world a brighter place. It is noticeably dimmer with her absence, and she is missed and loved immensely.

No services are planned. Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Meridian Mortuary, 111 S. Railway Ave., Newcastle, WY, 82701 or expressions of sympathy may also be made online at


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