Jo Anne Whitehead Obituary

March 24, 1939 ~ May 15, 2024

85 Years Old


Funeral services for Jo Anne Collier Whitehead, age 85, of Nacogdoches, will be at 2:00pm on Saturday, May 18, 2024 at Laird Funeral Home with Bro. John McGuire officiating.  Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery.  She was born on March 24, 1939, in Nacogdoches, the daughter of Alton and Inez Walker Collier and went Home to Heaven on May 15, 2024. Jo Anne was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, Lenox Collier, Cecil Collier, Homer Collier, Laura Collier Hand, Buford Collier, and Lois Collier Mooney Mims Carlson.

Visitation will be held from 5-7pm on Friday, May 17, 2024 at Laird Funeral Home.

Jo Anne met the love of her life, Joe Bob Whitehead, in Nacogdoches, TX, when she was sweet 16 and he was 18. She and a carload of her friends drove by his workplace and saw him sitting under a tree reading.  He told his boss that if they drove by again, he was going to go for a ride with them.  She told her friends that she was going to marry that boy, and on June 1, 1957, they were married. 

A marriage spanning 62 years had many seasons, and Jo Anne and Joe Bob’s early season produced four more J’s: Joe Bob Jr., Tena Jo, Joe Pat, and Tammy Jo. Because it was easy to confuse all those Joe’s, he and she began calling each other “Baby”.

The years brought a rich season of grandchildren: Cory, Chad, Stewart, Casey, Cody, and Caitlyn. The oldest grandchild, Cory, named her Nana. Life was full and busy with ball games and travel. This season in life was followed by eight great-grandchildren: Elijah, Emily, Cameron, Arlie Kay, Kinslye, Knox, Hayes, and Lily. 

Jo Anne loved music, had a beautiful alto voice, and loved harmonizing with her children, husband, and sisters throughout the years.

She was a hard worker and an excellent cook for many fun, laughter-filled get-togethers and road trips with her big, extended family, handing down recipes to daughters, granddaughters, nieces and great-nieces. She loved playing practical jokes on family and then re-telling the funny outcomes.  In recent years she often talked about how much she missed Joe Bob and all her siblings.

In her Bible she had underlined one of life’s hidden mysteries: “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.” (1 John 3:2)

That great mystery was unveiled for her shortly after 2 o’clock on Wednesday, May 15, 2024, when she left this life and went to her Heavenly Home. Her children and extended family suspect that one of the first familiar sounds she heard was her older sister, Laura, shouting, “Shonder she comes, Daddy, shonder she comes!”

Jo Anne is now living forever the truth of one of her favorite songs:

As I entered the gates of that city,

My loved ones all knew me well.

They took me down the streets of Heaven.

The scenes are too many to tell.

I saw Abraham.  There was Jacob and Isiah.  There was Mark and Timothy, But I said, I want to see Jesus The one who died for me

Then I bowed on my knees and cried Holy

Holy, Holy.

I clapped my hands and sang Glory.  Glory to the Son of God


Jo Anne is survived by sons, Joe Bob Whitehead, Jr. & wife, Diane, Joe Pat Whitehead & wife, Wyndi; daughters, Tena Jo Hill & Jamie Cook, and Tammy Jo Pankratz & husband, Gary; grandchildren, Cory Hill, Chad Whitehead, Stewart Hill, Casey VanSchoubroek, Cody VanSchoubroek, and Caitlyn Whitehead; and 8 great-grandchildren. 

Serving as Pallbearers are : Jerry Hand, Kaden Hand, Kase Hand, Jack Hand, Jr., Glendon Collier, Dale Collier, Jacob Cook, and David Clifton.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Jo Anne Whitehead, please visit our floral store.