Joanne Hightree is a fun and outgoing senior citizen in the small town of Decatur Nebraska. Joanne has lived in Decatur since October 7th, 1984. Before then, she lived in Walthill with her parents and her three siblings: one brother and two sisters. She married a Decatur boy, and that is when they moved and lived in Omaha for 30 years.
She said that moving from Walthill to Omaha was a big adjustment for her. Walthill is a small community where you know everyone and it was not like that in Omaha. Her children all attended school in Omaha and graduated. Two of them graduated from Tech High, which is no longer a school in Omaha. Her husband asked her where she wanted to live, and she told him wherever he wanted to pick. He suggested moving back to Decatur. So after living in Omaha, they decided to move back to Decatur.
Joanne overcame many challenges in her life. Her biggest challenge she overcame was having four babies. She says that it was quite an experience for her, and now one of her sons is staying with her today. Joanne loves having her son live with her and enjoys his company. Joanne enjoys being around her family and children.
Joanne said that she used to work at the Senior Citizen Center before the new Sears Center was built. She says that there are not as many businesses and or people as there used to be in the town of Decatur. Joanne thinks there should be a building with a microwave and computers for the teenagers so that they could have somewhere to hang out in town instead of having the teenagers come into the senior center to work on the computers. She really thinks teens should be able to have their own space in town where they cannot get in trouble staying out late at places that may not be as safe.
One of the most exciting times in her life was when she got confirmed in church. Joanne’s advice for me was to go to college and to definitely make something of myself.
Joanne says she loves taking people to places that they want to go, and she says she is like a taxi driver. She is a humorous person, and she loves to go down to the river to sit and reflect.
Being around Joanne is like being around my own family. She makes everyone and everything so comfortable around her and makes the best out of life. Every morning Joanne goes to the Green Lantern and eats breakfast with the girls.
Just recently Joanne has gone through radiation for cancer in her vocal cords. She said that she took the drive to Sioux City five days a week for six weeks. As of right now the radiation has worked.
It was great to sit down with Joanne and hear the amazing stories of her life. Joanne really loves and values her family as well as her community of Decatur.