It is with great sadness, tempered by faith in God's love and eternal rest, that we announce the passing of Joanne Marie Elholm, née Reis. Joanne was born in Gustine, California. She was the second born of three children. She is the second generation of Portuguese descent from São Jorge Island, Azores.
She spent her childhood on her family dairy, in the central San Joaquin Valley, where she grew up feeding the chickens, and driving tractor, loading hay to feed the cows they milked. Her favorite childhood memories were the holidays spent with her cousins at the ranch and being surrounded by all of her loving aunts and uncles.
In 1959 she was crowned Queen of the Our Lady of Miracles celebration and proudly represented her hometown throughout the Portuguese community.
She met the love of her life in grade school, later becoming high school sweethearts. They married in 1960 and created a beautiful life together for over 60 years. In 1963, along with the completion of her husband’s degree in Crop Science she was awarded the PHT (Pushing Hubby Through) degree by the California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obsipo in recognition for her efforts as a supportive and dedicated wife. In June of 1966, she gave birth to their first child, Kristina. In April of 1968 their second child, Kirk was born and two months later the family moved to Lost Hills, California where she had their third child, Garett the following year.
According to her, marriage and her three children were the blessings of her life. They were the accomplishments she was most proud of, and she considered their births and her wedding day to be the four best days of her life.
She was a community leader in many ways. She was instrumental in establishing the Lost Hills 4H club and served as a PTA leader and active Parent Club member until the family relocated to Wasco in 1981. She continued her avenues of philanthropic interest in the community of Wasco, where she was involved in the annual Rose Festival and an active member of the Lady Elks.
She embraced her Catholic faith and was a devout member of the church her entire life. Along with attending Sunday mass regularly, she served as a Eucharist Minister and was an active member of the Catholic Women’s Society, a member of the St. John’s Catholic School Board, and was a Director of Lectures for the church. Excited about strengthening faith in youth she enthusiastically taught CCD for over 20 years. She found comfort in being an active and supportive member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton upon moving to Bakersfield. Her love for God coupled with her faith pursued her to live life by Christ’s example.
While raising her family was always her number one priority, she had an extensive social network. She maintained contact throughout her life with many long term friends, who found her sense of humor full of wit and her laugh contagious. She enjoyed reading, was a critical thinker, was passionate about history and the daily crossword puzzle never went unchallenged. She had a love for design and an excellent eye for detail. Joanne’s kindness and hospitality meant that guests were always welcome in her home and never left hungry.
She is survived by her beloved husband, Donald Elholm, and their two adult children: daughter Kristi Spitzer, her husband Brent, son Kirk and wife Marla. Four grandchildren who she loved more than ice cream: Blake Ferini (Alyssa), Lauren, Sara and Ava Elholm, and three great-grandchildren: Lucas, Levi and Nora Ferini. Also her dear sister Judy. And of course, many much-loved nieces and nephews, cousins and life-long friends.
She was preceded in death by her loving parents, Joseph and Lucylle Reis, and beloved son, Garett Elholm. Also by her brother, Joseph Reis and his wife Shirley.
On Monday, August 23, 2021, a visitation will be at Doughty-Calhoun O’Meara Funeral Home 1100 Truxtun Avenue in Bakersfield, California from 4:00 - 7:00 pm.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at 10:00 am at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Bakersfield. The mass will be preceded by the Recitation of the Holy Rosary at 9:30 am.
Final resting place will be at the Cayucos-Morro Bay Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to
Gustine Historical Society
830 Laurel Avenue
Gustine, CA 95322
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church Attn: Building Fund
12300 Reina Road
Bakersfield, CA 93312