Josephine Connors
Josephine Connors
Josephine Connors
Josephine Connors
Josephine Connors
Josephine Connors

Obituary of Josephine Connors

Jo was born May 10, 1927, in Wauneta, Nebraska. The family, Thomas Priest, Christina (Hallet) Priest, Jo and her brother, Tommy, moved to Wyoming, where they homesteaded. Jo had many happy memories of growing up on the farm in Buckhorn Flats near Riverton. She often talked about how she appreciated her parents. Her mother, Christina, died when Jo was a young teen.  

On August 4, 1949, Jo married Gene Connors at St Margaret’s Catholic Church in Riverton. They welcomed four children, Colleen, Jim, Sue, and Lee. In 1957, the family moved to Ventura, California. Jo said that she thought she had arrived in paradise when she arrived in southern California. She saw bougainvillea flowers blooming in the median of the freeway!

The move to California was the beginning of a lifelong pattern.  Jo was a homemaker and, over the next 65 years, she created a home for her family in nine states and four foreign countries. The family moved to where there was work. Jo admired her parents’ many skills and their creativity as homesteaders. She demonstrated her own creativity and skills in each new setting.

In 1958, Jo packed up four children, ages two to eight, and flew to join Gene in Iran, where he was working for an oil drilling company. During the 18 months in Iran, Jo figured out how to satisfy her picky kids, using processed food imported from Europe. There was no cold “American” milk. She learned to play golf. The putting green was made of oiled sand and golfers sometimes had to wait for camels to cross the fairway. Traveling home, the family visited Rome and attended an audience with Pope John XXIII in the Vatican.  

The family returned to the states in 1960. Jo made the most of the next six years in California. She learned to cook California-style Mexican food and later extended her expertise to Tex-Mex and New Mexican dishes. She drove a black VW bug, ferrying kids to numerous activities, often to the beach (sometimes with a surfboard strapped to the roof).  She volunteered extensively at the St. Bonaventura Catholic mission and Holy Cross school. In 1965, Jo completed training as a Licensed Vocational Nurse and went to work in Respiratory Therapy.

The next move was to Florida. Jo was a very proficient seamstress, sewing for the home and making kids clothes and her own. While living in Ft. Lauderdale, Jo added quilting to her skill set. She continued to enjoy designing and making quilts for many, many years. Beginning in Florida and for the rest of her life, Jo always had a pet dog, often “rehomed” from one of her children – Ginger, Jade, Lady, Wheeler, Jessie, Xena and Betsy.  

The next few years were spent in Ohio, Texas, and New Mexico. But after their children were grown and living independently, Jo and Gene’s homes included more exotic locales, including Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Athens, Greece, and Qatar.  Jo said that she enjoyed everything about the time spent in Malaysia, the cosmopolitan atmosphere, the scenery, the people, their arts and crafts, and the excitement of playing Mah Jong. Jo lived in Athens while Gene worked two weeks on/two weeks off in Saudi Arabia. They had an interesting group of friends there, expat and Greek. Jo enjoyed the many fascinating marketplaces in Athens and was able to explore many of the ancient sites in Greece.  She also traveled with a friend along the French coast to Spain. The time spent in Qatar was not as much fun. But Jo did learn how to brew beer while there.

After returning to the US, Jo and Gene joined their children and three grandchildren in Washington state. In 1982, they returned to New Mexico, settling on 25 acres in Edgewood, outside Albuquerque. Over the next eight years, they were joined by their children and welcomed more grandchildren. Jo helped to design, decorate, and furnish three houses that Gene built on the property. She was very skilled at refinishing and reupholstering furniture and making drapes. After Gene’s death in 1990, Jo remained at home in Edgewood. Her daughter, Colleen, lived nearby. In 1992, Jo provided tremendous support when Colleen adopted her son, Chris. Jo was an active member of the Estancia Valley Catholic Parish. She had a small but close group of friends with similar interests, including gardening, quilting, bowling, and charity work. Jo thought it amusing that she didn’t learn how to bowl until living in Malaysia. She was an avid supporter of the University of New Mexico basketball team, the Lobos.

Jo wanted to be close to her grandchildren. In 1998, she moved to Idaho, near Sue’s family in Coeur d’Alene and Jim and Lee’s families in Washington. During the years in Idaho and then in Washington, Jo was a loving grandmother to 10 grandchildren and welcomed six great-grandchildren.  She was a member of the St. Pius X Catholic parish. She volunteered at the local soup kitchen and recruited her grandson and his friends to help.  She learned how to applique and gifted beautiful quilts to friends and family members. She continued to walk daily, always accompanied by a dog. She loved college basketball, particularly the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Jo died at home in Olympia on February 22, 2024. She joined her husband, Gene; her granddaughter, Brigitte Ellen; and her daughter, Sue Hawkins.

Jo is mourned by her daughter, Colleen Connors, and her son, Chris; by her son, Jim Connors, his wife, Becky, and his sons, Brant, Kyle and Christopher; by her son, Lee Connors, his wife, Rosemary, and his sons, Luke, David and Daniel, and his daughters, Celeste Eastwood, and Jenny Haliburton; by Sue’s husband, Jim Hawkins, and their children, Lily and Sam; by extended family, including Stephanie Connors and Robin Felsing-McNeil; and by great-grandchildren, Jagger Felsing, Rosey Krutsch, Gibson and Quinn Eastwood, Corbin and Hayden Connors, and Alix Brewster.

The funeral Mass was offered at St Michael Catholic Church in Olympia, Washington. Jo is buried in Calvary Cemetery, Tumwater, Washington.

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