Joann Reil, daughter of Rob (RJ) and Ione (Muller) Carothers, was born Jan. 10, 1939, in Jefferson. Jo, as she was affectionately known, grew up on the family farm south of Bayard where she attended country school through the eighth grade and then graduated from Bayard Community School in 1957. As a kid, she was active in 4-H and showed her dad’s home-raised Angus cattle, played basketball and was in marching band.  

Jo dated Robert (Bob) Reil, the love of her life, all through high school, and they married at St. Patrick’s Church in Bayard on Aug. 31, 1957. Their marriage was blessed with two children, Thomas and Ann. Jo worked in banking and finance her entire life, starting her career with Bankers Trust in downtown Des Moines. After moving to Guthrie Center, Jo worked at Guthrie County State Bank before taking a program technician position at FSA, specializing in the farm loan program. In 1977 while still working full time, Jo assisted Bob to launch Bob and Jo’s Trailer Town in 1977 during the farm crisis. The business, which thrived despite the financial challenges of the time, became a successful family enterprise largely due to their hard work and sacrifice. Many of their customers and business associates became lifelong friends. Bob and Jo’s love of the RV business led them to wintering for several years in Yuma, Arizona, and then in Pharr, Texas, before Bob passed away in 2019. After Bob’s death, Jo proudly continued to live on and manage the south Carothers farm, which has been in the family since 1881. 

Over the years, Jo was an active member of St. Mary’s Church, the Guthrie Center Firemen’s Auxiliary, Harmony Hour, and was a long-time volunteer election worker. Jo’s passion was sewing, and she was a skilled seamstress. Over her lifetime, family members were gifted doll clothes, wedding apparel, tailored clothing, quilts, bags and other items. She was often asked to do alterations, which were completed with a smile. In retirement, Jo worked for a time at Grandma’s House of Quilting in Audubon. As a member of several quilting groups, including Memory Makers, Bayard Busy Quilters and the Audubon Quilters, Jo found not only a place to hone her skills but also a group of women who were her best friends. She loved quilting retreats where everyone teased her that she talked much more than she quilted! 

Loved ones claim that her butter horn rolls, potato salad and chocolate chip cookies were legendary. Family dinners always ended as everyone fought to take home the left-over rolls and complained that only the grandkids got the chocolate chip cookies. As the oldest Carothers clan member, Jo became the family genealogist, locating a whole branch of long-lost family members and expanding family history.   

After struggling with chronic illness for almost a year, Jo passed from this life on May 2, 2024, at Iowa Lutheran Hospital. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt. She is mourned by son, Thomas (Serita) Reil, and daughter, Ann (Rick) Chalfant; grandchildren, Christopher Reil, Kassandra Reil, Kelsey (Chase) Gehrke and Nick Chalfant; great granddaughter, Timber Svendsen; brother, John (Elaine) Carothers and sister, Mary Jane Carothers; several nieces, nephews and cousins; and many friends.  

Jo was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, and her parents.  

A luncheon will be served Monday, May 6, 2024, from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at St. Mary’s Parish Center, Guthrie Center, with funeral services following at 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Guthrie Center. Burial will be in Union Cemetery, Guthrie Center. Visitation will be Sunday, May 5, 2024, from 3-6 p.m. at St. Mary’s Parish Center.

Twigg Funeral Home, Guthrie Center, is entrusted with her services.