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Joan King Holtzman

Obituary for Joan King Holtzman

August 14, 1925 - March 5, 2019
Austin, Texas | Age 93


Joan King "JoJo" Holtzman, age 93, was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota on August 14, 1925, and passed away on March 5, 2019. JoJo joined her husband, Wayne, in heaven just 41 days after his passing.

JoJo's love for music and literature became evident at a very early age. While a preschooler, JoJo memorized a number of poems and a first-grade reader called "Wag and Puff", which jump-started her lifelong literary interests. She could recite that book for the rest of her life. When she was ten years old, JoJo was lying on the floor in front of the radio, and she heard a beautiful song, "The Isle of Capri". After it was over, she went to the piano, and just using her "do re mi's", she played the song entirely by ear much to the astonishment of her mother. Her growing up years in Aberdeen were full of music, tap dancing, digging in the garden, ice skating and playing with friends.

When she was 18, JoJo rode the train by herself to Chicago where she enrolled in Northwestern University. JoJo sang with the Women's Glee Club, was elected to Mortar Board and served as president of the YWCA. She was a regular pianist for many sing-a-longs and performed at USO shows. Shortly after graduation, JoJo married Wayne Holtzman. When they both received scholarships from Stanford University, the newlyweds headed for California. JoJo was elected to Pi Lambda Theta and awarded a Master's in Education degree. Her thesis was based on poetry and music for young children.

In 1949, they moved to Austin where Wayne joined the psychology faculty at UT Austin. JoJo became active in PEO, Mortar Board, and International Hospitality Council to name just a few. In 1953, JoJo became a Charter Member of Women's Symphony League of Austin and served as Secretary of the Board from 1968 to just recently. She was elected to Junior League of Austin in 1958 and in 1985 was chosen as the League's first "Volunteer Extraordinaire". JoJo provided songs and musical games for children at the Cerebral Palsy Center and for mental patients at the Austin State Hospital for 16 years.
Since 1983, she has been a member of the Junior League Playhouse Singers performing at nursing centers, Marbridge Farms and other locations.

In 1984, JoJo and friends re-published Symphony for Simple Simon, a book which had songs complete with piano scores, written by JoJo about each instrument. They added a cassette tape featuring JoJo on the piano and local singer, Barbara Amaral on vocals. The American Orchestra League gave its Award of Excellence in recognition of this work. JoJo has also produced several tapes and CDs of her own preschool children's songs including "JoJo's Songs for Growing Up," "Beasts, Veggies, and Sospetigious Things", and "The Fat Rat and This and That." JoJo also has composed twenty-two songs for "Lone Star Lady", a musical about Ma Ferguson.

JoJo always had a certain sparkle about her, no matter the circumstances. She was equally content (usually!) camping with her family or having coffee in the lobby of a 5 Star Hotel. She and Papa traveled the world and made life long friends wherever they were. JoJo was a repository of countless memories, quotes and songs; a living juke box and library like no other. She was especially whimsical and delightful in retelling her childhood memories. JoJo listened intently to each of us imparting wisdom without being imposing. When asked for her advice for a long and happy marriage she would quote 1 Corinthians 16:14 (Old English) "Let all that ye do, be done in love".

JoJo was a wonderful wife and mother as well as a friend to anyone she met. She loved her family, had a sweet disposition and always had a song in her head. Her brownies were legendary. JoJo is survived by sons Wayne (Elsa), Jamie (Mickey), Scott (Denise) and Karl (Leslie) as well as 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. We miss you JoJo!

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Austin Symphony Endowment, 1101 Red River, Austin, Texas 78701 or online at or Friends of Muny Fund c/o Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe St. Suite 300, Austin, TX 78751.

Memorial services will be held Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Weed-Corley-Fish 3125 North Lamar Blvd. Austin, Texas.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Austin Symphony Endowment, 1101 Red River, Austin, Texas 78701 or online at or Friends of Muny Fund c/o Austin Community Foundation, 4315 Guadalupe St. Suite 300, Austin, TX

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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