February 25, 2007

Jo Jenner

A very special person, whom I was proud to call a friend, died last weekend. I met Jo Jenner at a discussion group we call The Salon in late 1992. She had recently lost her husband, Julian, and was spreading out a little into the community. I was struck, at the time, by her dignity and her sadness.

The Olympian had a very nice article about her impact on the community of artists in town and an obituary (link to search: search for ‘jenner’) with an excellent photo and details about her life that were new to me.

She was a generous, intelligent, sensitive, strong, and creative woman. The obituary has a story about her that gets to some of the kind of person she was, showing her sense of justice and her sense of humor:
Mr. Jenner's banking career led to a four-year posting in Hong Kong for the National Bank of Commerce in 1967, and Jo worked as a volunteer for several years with the Family Planning Council there. Her creation of a promotional poster featuring a pregnant man earned international media attention.
I hope that I am as creative, connected, and committed as Jo was when I’m her age. We’ll miss you, Jo.

Cross-posted at OlyBlog

Update 4/18: A commenter notes that there was a memorial for Jo this past weekend. I'm sorry I missed it. Our Salon had its own remembrance of her in a meeting shortly after her death. By the next meeting, we used the example that she set for us to re-energize the group.

Jo joined the Salon in its first year; she stayed with us for several years. She hosted our first feast. But as she got older and her energy waned, she made a choice to drop regular attendance and direct her energies in other pursuits. She did so with her usual grace and clarity, so that we all knew and understood what she meant.

The Salon is now in its fifteenth year. In the last year, though, it has been in a very low energy phase. Because of this, our last meeting was a discussion of whether and, if so, how to continue the Salon. Jo's example was our guide.

We wanted to honor her gift to us by making an open, clear, and intentional decision about continuing, rather than just fading away. Thanks to that clear beacon, we were able to realize that we did want to continue and recommitted to the Salon. Thanks, Jo.


Karan said...

I knew Jo too and admired her very much. I'll miss her.

Spc. Freeman said...

You have my sympathies. I'm sure she'd have been proud of the grace and dignity you show in this post.

Jeff said...

Jo was such a bright spirit! This afternoon there was a lovely gathering for celebration of her friends and family. In one exchange, there was complete agreement: Jo was so very PRESENT, so fully in each moment and encounter....and, she lived so long attending so many levels of life....well. A blessing to remember her.