One does not need to have known Jo White closely, or at all, honestly, to know, feel, and understand her stature as a bedrock founder and leader of the Colleagues of Calligraphy, inspiring so many in our common love of our beautiful craft.
We published a profile of Jo on our website last summer. It describes the wonderful event at which Jo was awarded the St. John's University President's Medal for her role as the "Mother of The Saint John's Bible." It gives insight into Jo as wife and mother, as well as the formidable driving force in helping to bring The Saint John's Bible to life.
What we do here now, however, is to share what we have known and loved and appreciated about Jo as our friend, fellow calligrapher, and guild leader/member.
My interactions with Jo were not many, but always memorable, over the past 6 years. I was a grateful recipient of our scholarship named for her, however, so I always made it a point to express my gratitude to her when I saw her.
That scholarship year was pivotal for my growth as a calligrapher, and she always sparkled when I told her so. That's my fondest memory of her: seeing how it tickled her to know the huge difference the scholarship made to me. She would give my hands an extra tight squeeze, look intently with her stunning baby blues into my eyes and say, "Great! Great! I'm so glad to hear that, good for you!"
When I became President, she winked and said to me, "Now that's a job!" After a brief pause, she then quickly added her gratitude for my service, with an assurance that I would "do great!" Funny, when Jo White expresses such confidence, the bar is somehow raised even higher, leaving one feeling buoyed and affirmed, if not simultaneously all the more intimidated by the challenge! I treasure that example of the care, good humor, and moral authority this great woman possessed.
We would love for you all to share your remembrances of Jo in the comments below. How lucky and blessed we all were to know, or be benefit from the spirit of Jo, a bright twinkling star in our midst.
Information for Jo's wake, visitation and funeral:
Another visitation before funeral mass Monday 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. (address below)
Luncheon to follow downstairs in dining room under the Presentation Church