JoAnn Werner Passes Away at 79

JoAnn Werner

JoAnn Simrell Werner of Hermiston passed away at her home surrounded by her family on March 8, 2023 at the age of 79.

She was born on June 11, 1943 in Chicago, Ill. to Robert and Vernell Simrell.

JoAnn lived in Chicago throughout her childhood where she attended school, graduating from Lincoln Park High School in the class of 1961. After high school, she attended Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. She later took night classes to obtain her medical secretary certification.

JoAnn married David Werner on Oct. 20, 1965 in Clear Lake, Iowa. The couple moved from Clear Lake, Iowa to Kalispell, Mont. in 1969. In 1976 they moved to Hermiston, where they have resided for the past 46 years.

JoAnn worked several jobs during her career, such as secretary for the IRS in Chicago Loop Chicago, Ill.; as a medical secretary for a cancer specialist at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago; secretary for Baptist Bible Camp in Iowa; and library aide at Rocky Heights Elementary School in Hermiston. JoAnn thought her most important role was as a wife, mother and a grandma. Her family was central to her life.

JoAnn was known for her sweet smile, gentle giving spirit and great sense of humor. She had a beautiful alto voice and sang in church choirs, as well as with the Sweet Adelines. She enjoyed many family outdoor activities: camping, snow skiing, snowmobiling, boating and vacationing in Maui, Hawaii. She also taught Sunday school classes in Kalispell and Hermiston and was a deaconess at the First Baptist Church in Hermiston.

She is survived by her husband of 57 years, David; daughters, Connie Miyaki and Tammy (Craig) Kopta; grandsons, Jake Miyaki, Kyle Kopta and Hayden Kopta; and several nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Vernell Simrell; brother, Darrell Simrell; and sister, Linda Carroll.

A private family service was held with burial in Hermiston Cemetery.

The family would like to give a special thanks to Vange John Memorial Hospice.

To leave an online condolence for the family, please go to

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements.


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