Mary Jo Wolcott

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December 26, 1951–April 23, 2024

Mary Jo Wolcott, 72, of Harpers Ferry, Iowa, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at the home she and Jim built themselves in rural Harpers Ferry, which she dearly loved along with being surrounded by wildlife. 

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, April 30, at 11 a.m. at St. Ann's - St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Harpers Ferry with Fr. Joseph Sevcik officiating. Burial was at Wexford Cemetery in rural Lansing. 

Martin-Grau Funeral Home in Waukon, Iowa, is handling arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Ann’s-St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the Wexford Catholic Church or the Harpers Ferry Rescue Squad.

Mary Jo (Valley) Wolcott was born on Dec. 26, 1951, to Joseph and Marian (Davies) Valley. She attended grade school in Harpers Ferry, grade 7–8 in Waterville, Iowa, and graduated from St. George High School in Lansing, Iowa. During her senior year, she met Jim Wolcott and they began dating.

After high school, Mary Jo attended NIACC in Calmar, Iowa, and after graduation, began her career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). Mary Jo worked as an LPN at the Prairie Du Chien General Hospital; Great River Care Center in McGregor, Iowa; and Prairie Maison Care Center. Mary Jo was also an EMT for the Harpers Ferry Rescue Squad.

On Aug. 24, 1972, Mary Jo and Jim were united in marriage. They worked together to build Jim’s business, J & J Electric, with Mary Jo keeping the books. 

Mary Jo and Jim had two daughters: Bev and Rita. Mary Jo always found the time to follow the girls’ activities and their biggest cheerleader. She clearly had a favorite daughter; however, she never disclosed who it was.

Mary Jo returned to school at DMACC, earning an associate’s degree in order to become the nursing home administrator at Prairie Maison Care Center. Mary Jo took great pride in the care provided to her residents and ensured they also felt cared about at her home.

In 2012, Mary Jo retired from the care center and began traveling with Jim. Mary Jo loved spending time working in her yard, enjoying wildlife and spending time with her family. Her two grandchildren, Alexa and Braedon, held a special place in her life, and she always enjoyed time spent with them. 

Mary Jo became an avid sports fan, cheering on all teams, but especially the Kansas City Chiefs and her Iowa Hawkeyes. Mary Jo enjoyed the companionship of her dog Ricky. Mary Jo’s faith was especially important to her as well.

Mary Jo is survived by her dog Ricky; two daughters: Bev Mentzer (Todd Nielson) and Rita Wolcott (Bobbie Marach); two grandchildren: Alexa and Braedon; her brother Jerry (Mari Beth) Valley; brothers-in-law: Duane (Carol Jean) Wolcott and William (Cookie) Wolcott; sisters-in-law: Rita (Donald) Hoelker and Carolyn (Dan) Wokosin; and several nieces and nephews.    

Preceding her in death was her husband of 44 years, Jim Wolcott; her parents Joseph and Marian Valley; mother and father-in-law Mildred and Glenn Wolcott; and brothers-in-law: Ray Wolcott, Tom Wolcott, and Robert Wolcott.

Honorary casket bearers are Josh Halverson, Laura Lacina, Rita Mathis, and James "Clutch" Retzlaff. Casket bearers are Alexa and Braedon Wolcott, Dan, Darin, and Ty Valley, Tony Retzlaff, Cory O'Neill, and Todd Nielson. Online condolences may be left at

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