By Price Patton
DELRAY BEACH — JoAnn Kern Peart, a longtime champion of preserving the charm of Delray Beach’s historic places, died on May 4. She was 72.
She was a native Floridian who spent most of her life in Delray Beach, beginning at the age of 6 months. She attended Virginia Intermont College and the University of South Florida.
Mrs. Peart worked to preserve Delray Beach’s history by serving as a co-founder, longtime president and board member of the Delray Beach Preservation Trust; president and longtime member of the Delray Beach Historical Society; member of the city’s Historic Preservation Board; and president and member of the Lake Ida Neighborhood Homeowners Association.
During her service on the Delray Preservation Trust, she fought the overdevelopment of a precious segment of the Old School Square Historic District, which contained some of the city’s oldest and most important buildings. Later, she led the two-year effort to get the Old School Square Arts District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Among the buildings she helped save were the 1924 Cason Cottage on the campus of the Historical Society, the 1924 Willie Franklin House in the West Settlers Historic District and the 1928 Clint Moore House on North Swinton Avenue.
She also chaired the City Commission-appointed Historic Task Team, which helped strengthen the city’s preservation ordinances.
She selflessly gave her time and attention to many causes and to her many friends and family.
For years, she helped manage the family business, Universal Beach Services, founded in 1973 by her husband, John Frederick Peart. He won contracts to clean beaches from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys, as well as contracting with Palm Beach County municipalities and private beachfront homeowners.
The business will continue to be operated by her son Clayton Russell Peart of Delray Beach, who worked for his father and has run the business since 2012. Mr. Peart, her husband of 38 years, predeceased Mrs. Peart, as did her parents, Joe Russell Kern and Ann Sells Kern.
She is survived by two sons, Curtis William (Joanne) Peart of Tamarindo, Costa Rica, and Clayton; a daughter, Ann Margo (Christopher) Cannon; grandchildren Julie Elizabeth Peart, Jack William Peart, John Peart Cannon and Elizabeth Ann Cannon; a brother, John (Patricia) Kern of Juno Beach; three sisters, Mary Kevin Reynolds of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, Kathy Sherrard of Stephenville, Texas, and Janet Kern of McKinney, Texas; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held May 13 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Delray Beach.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Delray Beach Preservation Trust and Trinity Delray.