Joanne Harkins

January 15, 1926 - September 8, 2020

Joanne Harkins, 94, of North Aurora passed away Tuesday, September 8, 2020.  She was born January 15, 1926 in Louisville, KY to Talbott Brooks and Hazel (Sheffer) Robinson. She was united in marriage to Stanley “Dutch” Harkins October 21, 1944, in Key West, Florida, shortly after having arrived at the Naval Air Force Base in Key West  prior to a hurricane hitting the island. The story of those few days is well known and often recounted within her family.

Joanne was employed as a secretary throughout her adult life. She was good at it, beginning with her work at the Naval Base in Key West where she quietly expunged from her new husband’s records his engagement in fisticuffs off base with one of the officers. While Dutch was later exonerated for his role in the encounter, Joanne told him she was not going to allow the use of such language to be part of his record. It was not the last time she acted in a way that left him totally amazed and dumbfounded.

Joanne worked at the end of her career for research scientists within the Amoco Corporation, and during that time began her passion for growing flowers to beautify the world. She was very proud of creating the Seeds and Weeds gardening club at Amoco. She was also a major contributor to the Seeds and Weeds club in Lake Holiday, and to the North Aurora Garden Club. Her basement was filled with germinating seeds in the winter, giving birth to flowering plants she gave away by the hundreds to her garden clubs, friends and family. Her attic and garage were filled later in the year with dried flowers, many of them arranged by her and garnering Blue Ribbons at the annual Sandwich Fair.

Joanne’s life was filled with love of family, faith, flowers and so much more. With a playful spirit and great sense of humor, she lived every day as a blessing from above, for which she never failed to give thanks. Joanne Harkins brought beauty and love into the world, and leaves those who knew her with sorrow over her passing and joy for having been blessed to be part of her life.

She is survived by her two sons Dennis (Jane) Harkins, and Randy (Kathy) Harkins; her grandchildren Paul (Yuliana) Harkins, Heather (Tom) Sliva, Jeremy (Becky) Harkins, Kristina Ammerman, Erik Harkins and Lindsay (Matt) Snyder; 13 great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and four very special women who enabled her to return to her home town of North Aurora for her final years and enjoy those years among friends and family: nieces Penny Converse and Judy Burns, and daughters-in-law Patricia Harkins and Marla Harkins.

In addition to her parents she is preceded in death by the love of her life, Stanley “Dutch” Harkins; son Curt Harkins; grandson Kevin Harkins; brothers Robert and Talbott Robinson, sister Avalon Russo, and sister and best friend Jeanne Carlson.

Funeral services were held privately and interment was held in River Hills Memorial Park in Batavia, IL.  


Guest Book

  • Richard D Robinson Aunt Jo lived a wonderful life, always full of life. I remember when she and Uncle Harkie visited Carolyn and me in Duarte CA. She was so excited about visiting and enjoying the flowers. It was so nice to visit with them. And when we visited on our trip with our trailer. It was so nice to go out on the lake and see her in her own environment and see her swimming. We miss her even though we didn't get to spend as much time as we would have wanted.
  • Marilyn Wilson Thinking of all the special times spent with Josie. She taught me the names of every wildflower as we walked the trails in Bayfield. So many sweet memories of the times in Madison at family gatherings. Thanks for sharing your sweet Mom/Nana with me throughout all these years. Sending much love to all of you. Marilyn
  • Kathy Harkins I have learned so much from this sweet mother-in-law. She was the most generous person I've ever known. She was deeply loved and will be deeply missed. Have fun in your new Garden Josie.
  • Kathy Harkins I have learned so much from my mother-in-law about so many things. I am so happy to have spent the last 10 years getting to know her. Dearly loved dearly missed.
  • Karen Babos Love and miss you more than you know.