This has been a sad week as we’ve experienced the loss of two beautiful women and wonderful friends from the Sawtooth Family. Former Executive Director JoAnne Vernon died on Tuesday after bravely fighting cancer for more than five years. Taking over leadership of Sawtooth in 2012, JoAnne helped the organization regain its financial footing, introduced new programming, developed a talented and dedicated staff, and opened the doors for underserved school children to gain access to visual art instruction. She stepped down at the end of last year due to her health, leaving her indelible mark on Sawtooth and a lasting legacy that will benefit the entire community for years to come.
Long-time Sawtooth ceramics student and instructor Juanita Disher died on Sunday. Her generous and loving spirit were reflected in the more than 100 ceramic bowls she produced each year for Second Harvest Food Bank’s “Empty Bowls” fundraiser. Her work was popular with Sawtooth shoppers, and for the last few years, she held the distinction of being the most prolific and top-selling artist at Sawtooth’s annual “Deck the Halls” sale.
Services for JoAnne and Juanita will be held this Saturday, May 13. Links to obituaries for both are below. The Sawtooth Shop and Gallery will be closed to the general public on Saturday to allow staff to attend services.
Read JoAnne’s obituary here.
Read Juanita’s obituary here.
Several people have asked about making memorial contributions. JoAnne’s family has requested that donations be made to the JoAnne Vernon Scholarship Fund at Sawtooth, recently established by her Mother, Lorraine Fassett. Juanita’s family has suggested that donations be made in her memory to the Sawtooth Ceramics Department to help fund production for “Empty Bowls.”
Online donations can be made here.