April 20, 1939 – September 5, 2023 

Jo Anne Lamun, beloved Mother, Wife, Director, and Playwright took her final curtain call on September, 5, 2023, at 4:44 in the morning, in Lafayette, Colorado. She was 84 years old and lived an incredibly full life, at peace with her own passing. Her daughters Laura and Lisa were right at her side, singing and celebrating her to the last moment.

JoAnne was born to Ann D. Blower and Lloyd K. Blower on April 20, 1939 in Casper, Wyoming where she would grow up and attend Casper High School. This is where she met her husband,

John R. Lamun. They would later get engaged in Europe, when he was stationed in Germany with the Army and she was studying a year abroad in Geneva, Switzerland. JoAnne would receive a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University, and a Master’s Degree from University of Colorado.

After they were married, Jo Anne and John moved to Boulder, Colorado where Jo Anne became a Mother to Laura in 1964, and John received his Bachelor’s Degree from CU. They relocated to Flint, Michigan, where Jo Anne began her illustrious teaching career, and John pursued a successful career with General Motors. In 1967, she gave birth to Lisa. In 1970, after several moves in Michigan, the family settled into the beautiful, mile-square neighborhood of Lathrup Village, Michigan.

Lathrup Village was the original setting for Jo Anne’s greatest life work, her children’s theatre companies. Initially she took over the Lathrup Children’s Theatre from Joan St. John, and from that created the Lathrup Youtheatre, producing 2 Summer plays a year, endless after-school classes, and traveling entertainment troupes performing all over the greater Detroit area and suburbs. She wrote nearly a dozen musicals herself, and adapted hundreds of standard musicals to accommodate her casts of over 150 kids. Her additional material assured that every participant had a line of their own – even if they were only 3 years old! At this time, she also directed and choreographed adults with the St. Bede Players, where she met lifelong friends and collaborators. She also ran one of Michigan’s first community cable TV channels, chaired committees sponsoring balls and events with the Lathrup Village Women’ Club, and taught English, Speech and Drama at Kimball High School and St. Agatha’s High School.

One of her most prolific and long-lasting successes was her professional luncheon theatre group, The Peanut Butter Players. Originally in Michigan, PBP received great recognition from the press and won many awards.  She gave countless children the opportunity to perform, grow and also learn what she considered to be one of the most important skills of a professional actor – waiting tables! Serving hot dogs & peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, and signing autographs after every performance, her Peanut Butter Players got a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience professional theatre first hand.  Her students include now Broadway Stars and Tony recipients including Sutton Foster, Celia Keenan-Bolger, David Burtka and many more.

Once her daughters had graduated and moved away, and after her Mother’s death, Jo Anne moved back home to Boulder, Colorado, where she purchased the big dome on Mapleton & Folsom (for those of you who remember) which was once designed to be in the epicenter of children in Boulder County. And it became that again, renamed The Toadstool Playhouse, as the enormous facility was turned into the offices and classrooms of the Peanut Butter Players. Here thousands of children learned self-esteem, public speaking, and the practical magic of performing for others. Many of these “kids” grew up to bring their children to work with Jo Anne. The PBP also performed at the Fox & Boulder Theaters,  Nissi’s, The Avalon and many other locations, giving her talented group of kids the opportunity to perform just like the professionals.

When she moved to Lafayette in 2002, Jo Anne opened The Harlequin Theatre on S. Public Road as the new home for the Peanut Butter Players. There she continued to offer PBP Lunch Bunch performances, classes and summer camps, and several Holiday shows inviting parents to perform beside their children in “All Ages” casts.

A true contributor to the benefit of Youth in Colorado, Jo Anne was awarded the Daily Camera Pacesetter Award in 1999, and the Channel 7 Everyday Hero award, Boulder Weekly Best Of, and many others.

Jo Anne also loved to paint, write, and read, and play with her cat Teddy. Her daughter Lisa was pivotal in caring for her in her final year, and Laura came to visit many times so they could all continue to celebrate together. They made many recent memories of sharing wonderful food, talking and cherishing the last times together.

Before she passed, her Family made her comfortable at home for many impromptu PREMORIALS  – loved ones, fans, students, and family came to be with her and offer their words of love and memory directly to her. It was a beautiful sight to witness. Two different gatherings of Zoom calls which included former Youtheatre and Peanut Butter Players, now from all over the World, were epic celebrations for her, with not a dry eye in the house. Rarely does one human being receive such incredible feedback and gratitude while living – and no one deserved it more. Thank you to all who participated and facilitated.

At this point, the Family has elected to forgo any Memorial Services, as they feel she was celebrated while alive and able to receive this beautiful energy herself.  There will be a gofundme for settling final costs, aiding the surviving members of the Family and caring for and distributing the assets of the business.  It was Jo Anne’s wish that the plethora of costumes, props, scripts and scores be donated to local theaters and school theatre programs who can continue to make good use of them, and to see her legacy live on in performance and education. Anyone interested in receiving items from her vast expanse of sets and costumes from over 40 years of theatrical performances are encouraged to contact the family directly at LLAMUN@GMAIL.COM

Flowers, cards, comments, tributes and love are welcomed by her family at their home.

 

Thank you, Jo Anne for teaching us all so much, caring for each and every one of your “kids” and leaving an indelible mark on the world.

 

 “The Peanut Butter Players thank you 

For coming to our show

We don’t like to say goodbye

But it’s time for us to go

So we’ll just leave this wish behind

To brighten up your way

May happiness always stick to you

And have a Very Peanut Butter Day!”

 

And….Scene.

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4 thoughts on “Jo Anne Lamun”

  1. Dear Family of Jo Anne. I lost touch with Jo Anne in these last years and only now have learned that she was ill. I have such fond memories of her as she directed both my kids in summer shows, my daughter in Lunch Bunch and even ME in the community shows that welcomed terrible adult actors such as myself.
    Jo Anne, I am ever grateful for all you taught my children, for your shocking honesty, your energy, your belief in all of us. Inside your sometimes brusque exterior, you housed the biggest and most tender heart. We all saw your heart. We all had so much fun with you. We all learned that we can do more and go further than we would have thought possible.
    My love to you.
    Marilyn Kruegel

  2. Wow! Can’t believe she’s gone – I sometimes thought she would live forever! When she first came to Boulder in 1991, I brought our kids, then ages 5 and 3, to ‘try out’ for the Wizard of Oz. At that time, Jo Anne didn’t think about using 3 year olds, but I asked her since I would be here anyway with the 5 year old, could the three year old participate, too? Of course she said yes, so, our son (age 5) got to be the Mayor of Munchkinland and our daughter (age 3) was a Munchkin. And me, not being a seamstress, had to learn to make costumes, so that was a challenge, too! But it was an amazing time, and the “Mayor” during rehearsals, was always a bit distracted (o.k., never in the right place at the right time), which made me worry that he would screw up on stage, however, Jo Anne was not worried at all and sure enough, he pulled it off. And our daughter’s one line was in response to a line from him, so that worked out great! The years went by and they participated every summer, I made costumes, helped others with their costumes, until one day, at the beginning of the summer production of “The Music Man” Jo Anne told a group of us moms that “Guess what — you all are now the ‘Pick a Little’ Ladies” so that was fun, and a bit scary for me, but we all got it done! Another year, with the “Peter Pandemonium” production, once again the moms became part of the show, with a few of us having solos in music numbers! Holy crap!!! As our kids grew up, and I was working at their high school, I would occasionally see Jo Anne in the halls as a substitute teacher (which, as I said previously, made me think she would go on forever!). Our kids are now 37 and 35 and I truly believe they are successful because Jo Anne and Peanut Butter Players were part of their lives! Take a break, Jo Anne – you deserve it, then get back to work on those heavenly productions! Love from the Craft Family, Matt and Julianne (the Players) and George and Deb (the parents).

  3. Thank you for sharing these photos and stories about JoAnne’s life. My family had the wonderful opportunity to be part of the Peanut Butter Players in Lafayette from 2015 to 2019. Our son was in at least 8 stage productions and attended a few camps. I was in 3 multigenerational holiday musicals under JoAnne’s direction. My spouse and I made hot dogs and pb&j’s in the kitchen during several Lunch Bunch shows…We are so grateful for JoAnne’s creativity, vision, and generosity in offering PBP to the community.
    Sending loving thoughts to your family from ours—
    Shelly Barnard (mom of Nicholas Larson)

  4. I am so sorry to learn of JoAnne’s passing.she and her mother were dear friends when we were in high school. After Jo
    Anne gradutated and went to North Western, we lost track of each other. I remember working at the Blowers appliance store in
    the parts department one summer. Anne Blower worked at Natrona County High School in the Drama Department and I was part of the stage crew.I was also a friend of John Lamun in High School. I remember when Jo Anne came home after her first semester at North Western saying all I want for Christmas is wool.

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