JoAnn Maenaka

Obituary of JoAnn T. Maenaka

     JoAnn Maenaka, 91, of Caldwell, ID, passed away unexpectedly on Nov. 24, 2021.  Her family is deeply saddened by her sudden death.

     She was born on December 20, 1929, to Yanosuke and Mabel Takao in Multnomah County, Oregon. JoAnn was the second eldest with four siblings Janice, Fujino, Donald and Jayne.  She attended grade schools in Troutdale, Oregon, and O’Brien, Washington, and graduated from Fruitland High School, Idaho.

     JoAnn married Frank Maenaka on June 23, 1954, in Caldwell, Idaho.  They owned and operated the Golden Pheasant restaurant with later additions of the Bamboo Lounge and banquet facilities.  The hospitality industry is an all-consuming business, and they enjoyed the many regular customers and friendships made. Frank and JoAnn had a daughter, Patty and son, Michael who both spent a lot of time at the business while growing up.  The business closed in 1992. JoAnn then worked at the Caldwell Elks Lodge #1448 until her retirement. 

     In her free time, JoAnn really loved spending time with family and close friends. One of her favorite activities was fishing. There were always friendly bets on who would catch the first fish, the biggest fish, and the most fish caught along with post-fishing social celebrations!  JoAnn also bowled for many years in a couple of bowing leagues, and shared this hobby with her grandkids when they were young. Her five-hole bowling ball was quite unique to them.

     JoAnn was a proud and loving mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her family. She always had sweet treats and little trinkets for her great-grandchildren, and during get togethers it was not unusual to see “Gigi” sitting on the floor playing, laughing and talking to them.  One of her great grandkids favorite things to do was measure themselves against her for height.  They teased about soon achieving the milestone of being as tall or taller than her.

     She had a “green thumb” with plants and flowers and a special knack with orchids.  There were always several orchids in bloom throughout the year at her house.  She also enjoyed spending time working in her yard.  It was not unusual for her to be outside early in the morning to water, trim, and tend to an assortment of flowers, shrubs, and trees until mid-afternoon in the spring, summer and fall.

     Jo Ann loved animals! There was always a pet dog and an occasional cat in her life at home.  These animals were very dedicated to her and stayed near to her when she was home.  Duke, Bear, Bear II, Fuzzybutt, Sadie, Popcorn, Sambone, Bailey and Callie were some of her very close companions over the years.  She also spent time feeding and watching all the birds in her backyard. She looked forward to the changing of the seasons to see what birds would return and was fond of colorful finches and Juncos (her snowbirds).

     JoAnn will be remembered for her feisty personality and fierce independence. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. She was preceded in death by her parents, siblings Janice, Fujino, Donald, and her daughter, Patty.  She is survived by her son, Michael (Sue), grandchildren Jennifer (Brian) and Brian (Tosha), and great grandchildren Michael, Layla, Decker and Conley.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a charity of your choice.

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