Mari Jo DeGrado, 65, of Newton, IA died on May 10, 2022 following a year-long battle with lung cancer. A visitation with the family will be from 3-5pm on Sunday, May 15 at Wallace Family Funeral Home in Newton, IA. Funeral service will be held on Monday, May 16 at 11:00am at Wallace Funeral Home in Newton with a lunch immediately following. A private interment of ashes will be at Union Cemetery following the luncheon. A celebration of life will be held from 4-6pm at the Elks Lodge in Newton on Monday afternoon.
Mari Jo (Wolfe) DeGrado was born on January 29, 1957, to James & Barbara (Jack) Wolfe in Newton, IA. A lifelong resident, she graduated from Newton High School in 1975 and built her life in the community. She married John DeGrado, Jr. on February 28, 1987, and they raised four daughters together. She devoted her career to the Newton Daily News, working there for 42 years, before retiring in 2019.
She will be remembered for her big grin and for the warm way she welcomed guests into her home. She enjoyed cooking, baking, gardening, canning vegetables, camping, fishing, and spending time with her grandchildren — all of whom will miss her homemade applesauce, chocolate chip cookies, and Chex mix. She rarely wandered far from home, but she was happiest on her annual October trips to Wisconsin where she enjoyed watching the fall colors along the Mississippi River. She could often be found outside, observing nature, watching birds, and enjoying a cold beer next to a campfire.
An inaugural member of the Newton Lady Elks, she was an active participant in the Elks Lodge. She was also a member of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart Catholic Church. For many years, Mari Jo was involved with St. Nick’s Christmas Club, working tirelessly to secure food donations and holiday gifts for hundreds of families in Jasper County every December.
Mari Jo is survived by her loving husband, John DeGrado, Jr. of Newton, IA, four daughters, Jane (Dave) Conforti of Geneva, IL, Mary (Aarik) Evanson of Ames, IA, Nancy (Bob) Andrew of Newton, IA, Virginia (Rogan) Risseeuw of White River, SD, and her mother Barb (Bill) Ponder of Newton, IA. Those left to honor her memory also include her twelve grandchildren: Gianna, Joshua, Parker, Elena, Ashley (Ryan), Kaurissa (Chris), Trai, Creighton, Camryn, Jackson, Marshall, Charlotte Jo, and her three great-grandchildren, Andi Jo, Eleanor, and Jasper. She is also survived by her nephew Shawn (Shaun) Wolfe and her great-niece Brooke Wolfe, all of Pleasant Hill, IA. She is preceded in death by her father, James Wolfe, brother Gary Wolfe, and in-laws John DeGrado, Sr. and Elena DeGrado.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in Mari Jo’s name to Mercy One Newton Foundation (specify cancer patient care) or to the Pella Hospice.
She will be missed more than we can express. As you lift a drink to toast in her memory, please join us in saying, “Just one more, Josie!”