I had the privilege of having Jo Anne as my mother-in-law. There are many jokes about mother-in-laws, but with Jo Anne, I hit the jackpot.
My own mom died when I was 17, and I stumbled along for 9 years on my own. When Alan and I got married I had absolutely no idea how to be a wife, let alone a mother to two small children. I turned to Jo Anne and she stepped up without question.
She taught me the simplest of things: how to set a table. I wanted to know why we had to use ALL the silver ware, and she said "in case the president might stop by. She taught me how to cook fresh vegetables, as I had only been used to canned. She tried to teach me to LIKE fresh vegetables...well, she couldn't do everything.
Jo Anne and I shared a love for crafts. One Christmas I decided I wanted to make quilts for each of my three children, AND I wanted to hand stitch them. The fact that I had never quilted didn't seem like a problem. I can't count the number of times I called her in tears, just sure I had ruined the whole thing. She would calm me down and nine times out of ten she would show up at my door, rip out my problem and save me from my mistake, and then tell me she was proud of me. That was a big deal to me.
She had an exceptional talent at cross stitch. Rarely did we see her without a project on her lap, or a thread hanging from her pants. The beautiful Christmas stocking and ornaments she made for each of her grandchildren will be sweet memories, cherished forever.
One of the most valuable things Jo Anne taught me was how love and care for my children.
She taught me what it was like to have a loving mother in my life.
She taught me the beauty of living out a love affair with my husband.
And she taught by example, with the greatest of ease, as these were her gifts: to love completely and to give with all that she was.
I will forever be grateful for the gifts that Jo Anne shared with me. I loved her very much.
I will miss her.