From left to right: Sharon Musto, Deb Linzen and JoAnne Weber.
The Drachen Foundation recieved this sad news via one of our Board Members, Jose Sainz, yesterday afternoon. Brad Klages, a close frend of JoAnn's, reflects on her contributions to the kite world and the void that her passing leaves in the kiting community:
It is with great sadness that I share with you news of the death of our friend, JoAnn Weber, of Minneapolis, Minnesota who died late last week of natural causes.
The barking of her dogs alerted her neighbors that something was wrong. The neighbors called the police who came and entered her home and found her body. The Minneapolis police contacted Barbara Meyer whose name they found among JoAnn's contacts. Barbara contacted me last night with the news.
JoAnn was sick with the flu early in January. I last saw her on December 3 when I was in Minneapolis and last spoke with her by phone on January 21. She sounded better that day and seemed to be recovering. I am shocked and saddened by her passing. Not having her in my life will be a big adjustment!
JoAnn was one of my closest friends: a gifted artist with a whimsical side, kite maker, mother and business woman. She established and ran her own business "Arte Del Cielo (Art of the Sky)" for the past twenty years after departing from the Walsh Bishop architectural and interior design firm in Minneapolis. I met her after I joined the Minnesota Kite Society in 1994. Over the years we became good friends.
You may recall having met her too at the Midwest Area Kitemakers Retreat which she attended often both as student and teacher. She attended Midwest kite festivals such as "Kites On Ice" in Madison, WI, "Sky Circus" in Chicago, and the "Jamestown Kite Festival" in Jamestown, ND. She also attended and competed in crafted kite making competitions at several AKA conventions including in Ocean City, MD, Ocean Shores, WA, and Treasure Island, FL.
JoAnn is survived by a son, David W. Classen, of Los Angeles, CA. Most of you may never have known that she had a son. But she gave him up for adoption in 1961 at a time when it was frowned upon for an woman to have a child out of wedlock. He came back into her life in 2006 in a quest to find his birth mother. This made JoAnn very happy to finally be able to meet and get to know her son. She is survived by a cousin and an aunt in St. Peter, MN and a god daughter in Minneapolis.
JoAnn is also survived by her three loving and faithful Saluki sight hounds including Rhiannon, age 12, Mariah, age 5, and Saadi, age 7 months (approximate) who were living with her at the time of her death. Her dogs are currently in a shelter in Minneapolis. But a friend from Iowa is making arrangements to retrieve them and send them back to their original breeders in accordance with JoAnn's wishes.
With sincere regards,
Secretary, Minnesota Kite Society