When Jeff and Jo Ann Krause married in September 1997, they planned on spending a long and happy future together. What they didn't know was that cancer would claim her life, all too soon — the way it had claimed her mother.
"She died at the same age as her mother, Helen, did — also of cancer and also after a three-year fight," said her heartbroken husband on Tuesday. Jo Ann Krause, 55, of Little Rocky Run, died that morning at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital.
THE COUPLE MET in 1996. "She was beautiful," said Krause, 59, a Fairfax attorney. "We went to Aruba for our honeymoon."
Jo Ann had previously lived in Centreville and, in the mid-1980s, she was a Realtor with Better Homes Realty in Manassas. Later, she worked as her husband's bookkeeper and also in the health field. Then, in the summer of 2000, doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer.
"We thought she'd beaten it with an operation, that August," said Krause. "Then her back started hurting her, in June 2001." But they went on with their lives and, that September, they moved within Little Rocky Run from a smaller house to a larger one.
However, Jo Ann's illness had begun to reappear. "In October , doctors discovered it had spread to her bones," said Krause. "She was a fighter and had seven or eight types of chemotherapy, and one of them seemed to be working."
But by March of this year, the cancer had spread to her liver. Her condition worsened significantly, two weeks ago, and on June 27, she went into Hospice of Northern Virginia. The end came July 8, around 10 a.m.
Saying "Happiness is a state of being too busy to be sad," Krause is coping by throwing himself into his work to stave off the pain of his wife's death, as best he can. Describing Jo Ann as "ebullient and always upbeat," he also remembers the happy times they shared together.
"Before she got ill, she played women's soccer and liked to bowl," he said. "We enjoyed dancing together, and we went on cruises to the western Caribbean."
BESIDES KRAUSE, Jo Ann's siblings are also mourning her death. "Jo Ann was not only my older sister, but also my friend and my mother," said Lettie Ballve of Falls Church. "We looked up to her. And she was always there for people and could always be depended on — but she never expected anything in return for her kindness."
She is also survived by her two sons, Sean Bobbitt, 37, of Haverhill, Mass., and James Bobbitt, 35, of St. Petersburg, Fla. ("Sean was a star pitcher for the Chantilly High Chargers," said Krause. "He graduated in 1984").
She leaves, as well, a granddaughter, Brittany, 13, of Manassas; brothers Floyd Nalley of Old Town, Fla., and Daniel Nalley of Elba, Ala.; and sisters Kathy Roth of Front Royal and Sandra Glascock of Warrenton.
Viewing is this Thursday, July 10, from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Green Funeral Home, 721 Elden St. in Herndon. Funeral services will be held there Friday, July 11, at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Billy Ross of Centreville Baptist Church officiating. Burial will follow at Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Herndon.
Said Ballve: "Her family and her friends will miss her, but our happy memories of her will live on."