Jo Ann Blain Hengst passed away on October 11, 2021, due to complications from a stroke. She was born February 6, 1934, to G. E. “Jack” Blain and Laura Lou Petty Blain in Gladewater, Texas. When Jo Ann was six years old, the family moved to Jefferson, Texas. Her parents, the First Baptist Church, and Jefferson gave her the values that would shape her outlook on life. Jo Ann graduated from Jefferson High School in 1952.
After graduating from Baylor University, she married Arthur Ray Hengst of Woodlawn, Texas. The couple began their married life in Marshall but soon moved to Longview where Jo Ann taught English at Foster Junior High School and Ray worked at Texas Eastman Company. Upon the birth of the first of two children her true calling in life began. She quit teaching school and became a full-time homemaker. She delighted in her family while she and her husband created a disciplined but loving home. They developed many close friendships in Longview, and both considered themselves fortunate and enriched by these relationships. Jo Ann was active in the First Baptist Church of Longview and also enjoyed her time in the Junior League of Longview and the Ivy League Garden Club.
Jo Ann’s deep faith and love of the Lord was evident in her positive and pragmatic attitude toward life and how she interacted with others. She was always upbeat and ready for fun but recognized the importance of work before play.
Jo Ann and Ray loved to travel and learn. After Ray’s death she continued to travel with friends. A stroke in 2010 effectively ended her ability to roam. However, she faced her new physical challenges with courage and optimism, never once complaining. Jo Ann was a true example to her family. The last ten years of her life were spent near her daughter’s family where she was able to spend time with her two grandsons whom she adored.
Jo Ann is survived by her son Ray Hengst, daughter Laura DiCaro and husband Joe all of Colleyville, Texas; grandsons Will DiCaro of Dallas, Texas and John DiCaro of Boston, Massachusetts; sister Martha Lou Roberts and husband Ron of DeRidder, Louisiana; and niece Blain Roberts of Fresno, California.
The family would like to thank the loving staffs of Dancing River Assisted Living and Custom Care Hospice both of Grapevine, Texas.
Visitation will be at Haggard Funeral Home in Jefferson, Texas, on Monday October 18, at 10:00 AM. The service will immediately follow at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to Highway 80 Rescue Mission, 3123 W. Marshall Ave., Longview, TX 75602 or Old Oakwood Cemetery Association, PO Box 48, Jefferson, TX 75657.
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