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JoAnn Marie Luher Steckelberg, 85, of Merrimac, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, of metastatic melanoma.

She was born May 28, 1933, to Raymond and Lucille (Fritz) Luher. Following her father’s career of heavy equipment operator building roads in southeast Wisconsin, she was enrolled in 13 different schools prior to entering Sauk Prairie High School where her parents opened Luher’s Market. She was chosen homecoming queen who later married the man she picked for king. JoAnn worked at the movie theater in high school and the Badger Power Plant after graduation, being promoted to supervisor. After marrying Arvin Steckelberg, they moved to Ames, Iowa, where he finished his degree in veterinary medicine and she worked in the statistics department at Iowa State University. They became longtime residents of Conrad, Iowa, after a brief stint in Dysart, Iowa. She raised their five children in Conrad encouraging their academic and sporting activities. After divorce, she moved to Madison, to assist in caring for her sister with multiple sclerosis. Later she moved to a quiet area overlooking Lake Wisconsin near Merrimac.

She is survived by her children, SueAnn (Royce) Belzung of Madison, Sandra (Bob) Hogle of Conrad, Iowa; Jill Schiltz of Polk City, Iowa, Kurt (Darci) Steckelberg of Conrad, Iowa; brother, Merlin Luher of Prairie du Sac; nephews, Randall Luher of Prairie du Sac, and Carl Stephens of Rio. Surviving grandchildren are Katelyn and Madison Hogle, Grant and Timothy Schiltz, Krysta, Joel and Rebecca Steckelberg, and Noel and Eva Steckelberg.

Preceding her in death were her parents; son, Mark; sister, Raecile Stephens; and nieces, Sherril Miotke and Jennifer Luher.

Being the wife, mother, and grandmother of veterinarians, she was often asked if she liked animals. Her response was “I like children more.” Her greatest pleasure was watching her children mature, complete their education, and prosper. Her greatest sorrow was the loss of her youngest son, Mark.

Those of you who knew JoAnn may be aware of her struggle with paranoid schizophrenia. Although her family made several attempts to seek treatment, her illness interfered with her access to beneficial medication. Even though our mother was not able to benefit from advances in care for paranoid schizophrenia, many with this potentially devastating disease are able to be helped from new medications and therapies. Treating her mental illness would have allowed her to seek treatment for her melanoma and take blood pressure medication that would have prevented her congestive heart failure.

A private family gathering will be held at a later date in her commemoration.

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