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Celebration of Life for Joanne Burnett Ripley

Joanne Burnett Ripley

4/26/1953 – 6/12/2024

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our dearly beloved and adored mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, Joanne Ripley, age 71.

Joanne passed away, peacefully and surrounded by love, after a brief illness.

Joanne was born in Schenectady, New York to Charles and Lois Ripley. She was the 3rd of 5 children. In August 1956, her father transferred from GE Schenectady to San Jose, CA. The family settled in the WG Meadowbrook Development, known as “Birdland”, which comprised transplants from GE and IBM, New York. This neighborhood is where she would meet her lifelong best friend, Debbie Thomas Koleszar. Joanne attended Canoas Elementary School. From there, she moved on to Edwin Markham Junior High School and graduated from Willow Glen High School in 1971.

Joanne created a wonderful life for her two children in San Jose, working as a weighmaster for Reed & Graham, Inc. Joanne was very involved in her church, Foxworthy Baptist, volunteering her time as a Sunday School teacher and with the Keenager’s ministry. In 1984, Joanne and family moved to the mountain area of North Fork, CA. She immersed herself and her children in the lifestyle and community, raising milk goats, tending to chickens, participating in the local theatre, and volunteering at the Southern Baptist Mission Church. Her children are forever grateful for her bold move to the country and the life she exposed them to.

Joanne was a valued employee of Madera County, working as a court clerk at the Bass Lake Court House. Joanne retired after 20 years of devoted service to spend more time with her grandchildren and to care for her father.

In retirement, “Grammy” was a fixture at all school and sport activities and was a huge supporter of North Fork Elementary School, Spring Valley Elementary, Squirrel Cage Theatre, Minarets High School, MHS FFA, The MHS Drama Club, MHS Baseball, MHS Volleyball and the North Fork Boosters, just to name a few. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and were their biggest fans–always head to toe in school colors.


She had taken an active role with her high school reunion committee, planning activities and reconnecting with many of her school mates. She loved lazy lake or creek days, taking in the sites from her porch, listening to the flutter of her hummingbirds, the sound of a passing train, a “Fork’s” burger, a cold glass of iced tea, a Hallmark movie—she was easy to please. Joanne will be remembered as a proud and patriotic American, loving God and her country. She was her happiest with friends and family and would often say, “My cup runneth over.”

Joanne is survived by her brothers, John Ripley (Diane), Robert Ripley, and William Ripley (Terry). Her two children, Deborah Hough (Paul) and John Sweeney III (Morgan). Grandchildren, Justin, Mason, Katelyn, and Ryan Hough. Aubrey Reagan, Colbie Reagan and Emma Sweeney. Great granddaughter, Elaiyna Hough.

A celebration of life for Joanne Ripley will be held on Friday, August 30, 2024 at Little Church of The Pines. The celebration will begin at 6:00 PM. A light dinner will be served. We will enjoy fireworks at sunset. All those who had been touched by Joanne, whether it be as a neighbor, a friend, a coworker, community member or loved one, we invite you to attend.

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Sierra News Online

Sierra News Online