Joannel M. McDermott, 86, of Epworth, passed away Monday, Feb. 18, 2019 at her home in Epworth.

Friends and relatives of Joannel called from 1-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019 at the Reiff Funeral Home in Epworth, where a prayer service was held at 12:30 p.m. Friends also called after 9 a.m. on Friday at the funeral home.

Services for Joannel were held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at St. John Catholic Church in Placid, with the Rev. Thomas McDermott presiding. Concelebrating clergymen were the Rev. Michael Schueller and Priests of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Lectors were Meg Muir and Steve Ward. Mass Servers were Lil McDermott, Charlie McDermott and Thias McDermott. Placing of the Pall was done by Irwin McDermott, Mary Ellen Dietzel, Molly Brehm, Meg Muir, Fr. Tom McDermott, Steve McDermott, Karen Koopmann and Sheila Ward. Giftbearers were Fran, Sadie, Sam Koopmann, Evie and Lucy Ward. Burial was held in St. John Cemetery in Placid.

Honorary Pallbearers were Ethel Vorwald, Joanie Gloeckner, Donna Delaney, Judy Kennedy, Helen Koopmann and Nelda Kennedy.

Casketbearers were Kevin Dietzel, Dan Dietzel, Mike Dietzel, Joe Muir, Phil Brehm, Terry Brehm, Steve Ward and Tony Ward.

She was born Aug. 23, 1932 in Dubuque, daughter of Earl and Grace (Callahan) O’Brien. She graduated from St. Columbkille Catholic School in Dubuque. She worked at Montgomery Ward until her marriage to Irwin McDermott July 25, 1953 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Fillmore. Joannel and Irwin worked and raised their family on their farm in Placid, until moving to Epworth, in 1997.

Joannel was a member of the Altar and Rosary Society and a long-time sacristan at St. John, Placid. She also served in the Befriender Ministry and instructed children in the St. John RCIA program.

Joannel was a dedicated wife, mother and homemaker. She was devoted to her family, her Catholic faith and her Lord.

She is survived by her husband of over 65 years, Irwin McDermott; seven children, Mary Ellen (Merlin) Dietzel, of Dubuque, Molly (Tom) Brehm, of Epworth, Meg (Mike) Muir, of Dubuque, the Rev. Tom McDermott, of Dubuque, Steve McDermott, of Epworth, Karen (Doug) Koopmann, of Peosta and Sheila (Frank) Ward, of Dubuque; 33 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; brothers, Mike (Joyce) O’Brien, Joe O’Brien and Eugene (Delores) O’Brien all of Cascade; her sisters, Kay (Rex) Gogerty, of Hubbard, Lois Schlegel, of Fairfield, CT, Deb (Bob) Green, of Cascade; and sisters-in-law, Rita McDermott, of Epworth, Mary Ann O’Brien, of Waunakee, Wis., Maurna O’Brien, of Cascade, Ann O’Brien, of Dubuque and Nikki Manternach, of Cascade.

She is preceded in death by her parents; one son, Phil McDermott in 1978; father and mother-in-law, Tommie and Katie McDermott; five brothers, Earl, Ralph, George, Pat and Steve O’Brien; sisters-in-law, Elaine and Monie O’Brien, Marie, Honora and Sr. Madeleve McDermott,O.S.F and brothers-in-law, Rich Schlegel, John, Pat, Francis, Thomas, Leo, and Rev. Philip, McDermott.

A special thanks to the caregivers at Hospice of Dubuque and No Place Like Home.

In lieu of flowers, etc. please direct memorials to Seton Catholic School or St. John Catholic Church in Placid, Iowa

Online condolence may be sent to the family at