Joann was the third daughter and youngest child of Ella Goldman Kousnetz and Dr. Selig B. Kousnetz. She attended von Steuben High School, graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 1950, and later studied graduate English Literature at the University of Chicago.
In 1951, she met and married Wilfred Halperin, a Chicago businessman and patron of the arts, with whom JoAnn spent many happy evenings in the halls of Chicago’s resident theater and music companies. They lived in Europe for a few years and, upon returning to Chicago, in time became the parents of Carl and Michele.
After Wilfred’s untimely death in 1962, JoAnn met a local pediatrician, Dr. Morton E. Pizer. In 1966, she married him, moving south and having children William and Ellen. She and her second husband were indisputably a local “power couple,” and they are highly regarded still, long after Morton’s death in 1989.
Not long after, JoAnn renewed acquaintance with Stanley H. Fox of Oxford, North Carolina, a man who had also recently lost his spouse of many years, and in 1992, they married. She and Stan had 27 joyous years together traveling and enjoying their blended family. Ultimately they relocated to Raleigh, where Stan passed away in 2019.
JoAnn was an avid needlepointer, miniature enthusiast and dedicated tennis player. She served a term as president of Beth Meyer Synagogue’s Sisterhood, where she proved invaluable in the commissioning of art works to enhance the beauty of the building and its sanctuary.
As a former member of the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Museum of Art, she was a founding co-chair of the Friends of the Judaic Art Gallery, the museum’s permanent installation of Jewish ceremonial art objects, one of only two such collections in the nation.
Along with her late husband Stan Fox, JoAnn was presented with the state of North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, membership in the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, awarded by Governor Bev Perdue in 2012.
JoAnn is survived by her children Carl Halperin, Michele Pizer, William Pizer and Ellen Pizer, her step-children Susan Fox Robinson, Debra Fox Tenenbaum and Martin Fox, her grandchildren Micah Pizer, Levi Slotkin, Sam Pizer, Gideon Slotkin, Naomi Pizer and Mira Slotkin, her step-grandchildren Ryan Robinson, Mark Robinson, Julie Robinson Sheffer, Brittany Tenenbaum, Megan Tenenbaum Bearman, Scott Tenenbaum and Christopher Fox.
JoAnn also leaves behind 27 devoted nieces and nephews, great-grandchildren from her third marriage, several first cousins, and her dearly-loved sister, Marian K. Kaufman. She was predeceased by her sister, Carol K. Sterkin.