Johanna Masters
Johanna Masters

Memorial Celebration

2:00 pm
Saturday, July 23, 2022
Salt Spring State Park
2305 Salt Springs Rd
Montrose, Pennsylvania, United States
Memorial Celebration

Obituary of Johanna Kathryn Masters

Johanna Kathryn Masters passed into the arms of God on May 16, 2022 at age 79 after a courageous 19-month battle with aggressive throat cancer.  She is survived by her husband Tim, sisters Janice Koncak and Martha Hanitchak, brother Jim Murphy, daughters Teri Geisenhof, Tami Constantino, and Sara Goff, as well as 8 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. 


Johanna was a kind and caring person, a wonderful and much loved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.  In her professional life she taught English, Theater Arts, and English as a Second Language, and was respected and loved by all of her students.  She also was blessed with an enormous and varied set of other talents.  In high school she was the pianist for musicals and other events.  Later she studied organ under Dr. Jonathan Biggers and Roberta Rowland-Raybold.  She achieved American Guild of Organist certification as Service Organist and served as organist at Vestal Center United Methodist Church, Christ the King Lutheran Church in Vestal, First Presbyterian Church (now United Presbyterian) in Binghamton, and First Presbyterian Church in Montrose PA, where she served as organist and Director of Music for the last 20 years. 


She was also an accomplished fiddler, initially studying violin as a child and later seriously focusing on traditional American and Irish folk music.  She did not enjoy contests, but in the only contest she entered, a north-east PA regional event, she won first place in fiddle as well as Best of Show.  Although folk music was her first love, she also played electric violin in a 60's rock band, and she studied jazz with Dr. Al Hamme and played jazz violin in a student concert.  In 1979 she became a founding member of The Java Joe Jammers, an open community acoustic jam group that has met nearly every Tuesday night since, including meeting on Zoom during the COVID pandemic.  If you search YouTube for Johanna Masters you will find many videos of her incredible fiddling. 


She was a serious karate student for 40 years, studying with Master Hidy Ochiai since 1979.  In January 2020 she was promoted to the rank of fourth-degree black belt at the age of 77, but unfortunately she had to take a leave of absence several months later due to the COVID pandemic.  Her strength and spirit during class inspired all.  It was not unusual for her to be sparring an opponent decades younger than her and become so enthusiastic that Sensei walked over and asked her to “Turn it down a notch.”  She particularly enjoyed working with the younger students, gently and lovingly guiding them in the way of Sensei’s teaching. 


But most of all, Johanna was an amazing wife and lover of children.  She overflowed with love and compassion for everyone in her family, as well as her friends.  She is missed beyond belief. 


There will be a traditional memorial service followed by a folk music celebration of her life on Saturday July 23, 2 PM, at Salt Springs State Park. 


Please consider a generous donation to Mercy House of the Southern Tier, 212 North McKinley Ave, Endicott NY 13760. 

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