JoAnn "Jody" Petry, lifelong resident of Minot, died Thursday, May 23, 2013, in a Minot hospital. She was 66 years old and a third-grade teacher at Washington Elementary School for 46 years. Teaching was her passion, her family said.
She was born May 27, 1946, in Minot, a daughter of Lois and Les Balerud. She attended Lincoln Elementary School, Erik Ramstad Junior High School and graduated from Minot High School. She earned a degree in elementary education at Minot State University.
She met Robert Petry while working a summer job at the Dairy Queen. They married June 4, 1966, in Minot. A year later, she began her teaching career at Washington School, a career interrupted by a cancer diagnosis in 2010, however she continued to remain connected to the school. In the last year, with her disease in remission, she achieved her goal of getting back into the classroom and taking charge again at Washington School.
Full of energy and drive, she developed a reputation and was sought after for the organizational skills she brought to countless endeavors. She was a leader of Mindcore at Washington, a group that raised funds for the purchase of books for the school library and items teachers need in their classrooms. She was active in Minot Junior Hockey and wound up as chairman of the group's billet committee to house hockey players. Some were billeted in the Petry household and were like sons to Jody and Bob, the parents only of daughters.
She leapt into area Republican politics during the 1970s and 1980s, volunteered at Norsk Hostfest and the Zoofari, a fundraising event for the Roosevelt Park Zoo. She was ferocious, her family said, in the family's competition at the annual July Fourth celebration at Rice Lake, where they have maintained a second home for many years. She was a participant in the Tough Enough To Wear Pink Campaign sponsored by the Minot YMCA to raise cancer awareness.
With all of that activity, her daughters said she thrived on doing things for others, whether it was entertaining visitors at their home or doing something for someone in need of a favor. She was always full of life and fun, her girls said. Growing up, they learned they couldn't get away with much. Their mother gave them "the look," a heavy-duty stare over her glasses that set things straight.
Toward the end of her life, she achieved another dream: holding in her arms the two grandchildren born to each of her two daughters in recent weeks.
She was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Minot, the Minot and North Dakota Education Associations and the Parent Teacher Association.
Survivors: husband, Robert; daughters, Terri Lynn (Jim) Duchsherer, Minot, and Traci Jo (Durant) Lund, Crosby; grandchildren, James Robert Duchsherer and Harper Leslie Lund; special aunt and uncle, Gert and Wil Brosz, Northfield, Minn.; and a number of cousins, including Diane and Dale Shuldheisz and family, Andover, Minn.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Lois and Les Balerud; a brother, Steven; and her mother- and father-in-law, Mildred and Joe Kusnier.
Funeral: Tuesday, May 28, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, Minot.
Visitation: Monday, May 27, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Thompson-Larson Funeral Home, Minot.
Burial: Rosehill Memorial Park, Minot.
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Mindcore at Washington Elementary School.