Jo Anderson passed over unexpectedly the morning of May 3, 2021 at Tucson Medical Center. She was born Laura Jo Lewis 94 years ago on September 25, 1926 to parents, Don and Cleo Lewis. She was married for 72 years to her loving husband, Carl Anderson.
Jo graduated from Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois in English and Library Science. She taught high school English for 3 years after marriage. The family moved from hometown Quincy, Illinois to California briefly, then Grove City, Pennsylvania for six years, and finally, settled in Urbana, Ohio. Carl’s job as a farm equipment manufacturer’s representative involved daily travel, and Jo was a full-time homemaker and mother to the couple’s three children.
She held part-time jobs along the way including assistant librarian at the Urbana Public Library and a remedial reading teacher at the Urbana Junior High School. She and Carl were long time members of the United Methodist Church in Urbana, Ohio, and they made many lifelong friends from their association with the church.
Jo loved books, dogs, music and writing. She was born “with a book in her hand.” A prolific writer of poems, short stories and an unpublished novel, she won numerous contest writing awards and acknowledgments in the states of Ohio, Colorado and Arizona. Published are her two “Maudie Mae” books of short stories, a poetry book called “Kite Songs” and an epic poem titled “Two Rivers We’ll Ride.” After publishing her epic poem in 1988, she accepted several guest speaker engagements in Ohio and presented the poem in period costume.
Jo and Carl bought a second home in 1993 and became snowbirds of Green Valley, AZ. They continued traveling between Ohio and Arizona until finally settling permanently in Arizona in 2015. Jo was an original member of the Green Valley Writers Forum, and made close friends throughout her years in this group. Many of her stories contained a dog and she took some ribbing about her dog heroes. Her intelligence and quick humor engaged all who knew her, and was evident in her poems and stories. She missed the stimulation of being with cherished friends during the Covid epidemic.
She was a repeat reader at the annual Writer’s Showcase sponsored each year by the Green Valley branch of Society of Southwestern Author’s Santa Cruz Valley Chapter. Jo was also granted clearance as a guest teacher at the Tucson Federal Correction Institute’s inmate writing program. The prisoners loved her visits and often asked when she would be returning again. They even made a mother’s day card for her which she framed.
Jo is survived by her husband and companion, Carl, daughters, Rae Jane (Mike) Hickey of Green Valley, AZ, Tracy (David) Clarke of Urbana, Ohio and a son, Alan Anderson, of Lancaster, Ohio. Her grandchildren are Gray (Leslie) Hickey of Denver, CO, Andrew Hickey of Bangkok, Thailand and Sara Jo Clarke of Urbana, Ohio. She has numerous nieces and nephews and enjoyed many special visits with nephews, Bob and Roger Hollander. She is preceded in death by her parents, her sister, Mariam Kay Hall and her beloved Boston Terrier, Cappy. No service is planned.