Irene “Joi” Dick, 75, of Ivanhoe, passed away April 7, 2019. Irene was born Irene Ayako Joko in Colorado on June 21, 1943. As Japanese-Americans after WWII, her family did not have it easy. With her broken English keeping her from participating in kindergarten with the other students, she quietly sat at her desk sewing curtains and clothes for the classroom doll house and dolls. Everything Joi learned, she mastered, and those simple sewing tasks blossomed into a love and skill that could challenge any professional seamstress. Joi designed and sewed her own wedding dress, countless one-of-a-kind ball gowns for her mother-in-law, and years of clothes, dresses and costume masterpieces for her children.
Joi’s tenacity and intelligence had her soon enjoying school and exceling beyond anyone’s expectations. She breezed through school with exceptional grades. Her loving and fun nature equaled her intellect, making her a popular girl crowned prom queen her senior year of high school. Wanting to help others and use her acumen for good, nursing was the natural choice for her undergraduate studies. She graduated from the University of Colorado nursing school and soon after moved to California where her first job landed her as an ER nurse in Los Angeles. Those unforgettable years left her with so many stories of treating celebrities that family and friends still tell. Joi’s nursing career was long and fulfilling, and at its height found her working as the head nurse for a prominent orthopedic surgeon in Colorado.
Joi married Robert Ralston Dick, Jr. on May 27, 1972. They had a strong, true love that stood the test of time. Together they raised and loved two children, Colin Takeshi Dick and Andrea Shannon Dick Stelter. Joi was a selfless wife and mother who put her family first. She retired from nursing to raise her two children. For them Joi was always there, always supporting, always encouraging them to be their best and loving them without measure every day of her life.
Even as a stay-at-home mom Joi embraced hobbies and pastimes to keep her hands busy and mind working. As mentioned before, Joi mastered everything she did. Her love of houseplants turned into blue ribbon wins at The Chicago Botanic Garden plant show. Her love of crafting brought her to the Greentree Boutique, one of Libertyville’s favorite yearly events for which she contributed greatly.
Once her daughter reached high school Joi pursued a second career as a real estate agent in Libertyville. Through this work Joi helped clients tirelessly and met countless people who became lifelong friends. Around this time Joi and her husband, Bob, started sailing and bought their first boat which Joi aptly named “In-tuition” because they bought it with their daughter’s college tuition money.
Their sailing hobby grew into a passion that found them competing in weekly yacht club races on Lake Michigan, crossing Lake Michigan for long weekends and spending hour upon hour on their boats throughout the years. Waukegan Harbor was their summer home away from home, and Joi was cherished in their boating community. Joi was an active member of the Anchorage Yacht Club and attended all board meetings with Bob. She especially enjoyed planning the yacht club’s yearly banquets, which under her care became events every member looked forward to attend.
Even with all of her accomplishments and successes, it can be said that Joi’s favorite title in her life was “Grandma.” She cherished, adored and loved her four grandchildren with every fiber in her being. She was at every birth, every milestone, every graduation, every event in their lives. From first grade music concerts to tennis matches and horse shows, Joi didn’t miss a single thing. Her grandchildren filled her with a joy, a pride and a love that infinitely radiated from her heart.
Joi was a remarkable woman who fiercely loved and protected her immediate and extended family. She will be remembered for her bright smile and infectious laughter. She loved playing cards and games with anyone willing. She loved to dance, and anywhere there was a dance floor, Joi was on it. It was a passion that had her performing in Japanese Kabuki theater in her childhood, participating in a tap recital in her 60s, and attending weekly ballroom dance classes with Bob. She made everything she touched beautiful. Every Christmas she loved decorating her house from top to bottom with décor that rivaled any major department store. And no one will ever forget her Christmas cookie exchange parties and slipper contests. She lived every day to its fullest up until her last breath.
Joi is survived by her husband, Robert Dick. Her children Colin Takeshi Dick and Andrea Shannon Dick Stelter and son-in-law Stephan Stelter. Her grandchildren Michael Takeshi Dick, Brandon Takeshi Dick, Connor Nicholas Stelter and Christina Shannon Stelter. Her sister-in-law Bess Joko who was married to her late brother, Richard Joko. Her nieces and nephews, Sandy Okamoto, Terry Okamoto, Louie Okamoto, Darin Joko, Kevin Joko and Wendy Joko.
A service for Joi will be held on Friday, April 26 at Christ Church Lake Forest, 100 N. Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045. Visitation at 11:00 a.m., Service at 1:00 p.m. and a reception immediately following. In lieu of flowers her family asks that you contribute to a nursing scholarship established in Joi’s honor. Donations can be made payable to the Irene Joi Dick Nursing Scholarship Fund and mailed c/o Andrea Stelter c/o McMurrough Funeral Chapel, 101 Park Place, Libertyville, IL 60048. Funeral info (847) 362-2626. Please sign the guestbook at Libertyvillefuneralhome.com