Remembrance of the Life of Jo Ann Purcell CoL
Loretto Co-member Josephine Ann “Jo Ann” (O’Connell) Purcell died peacefully Jan. 14 at The Ridge at Pinehurst in Denver in the company of family. She was 89 and in her 30th year as part of the Loretto Community.
Jo Ann was born in Kansas City to Paul and Mary O’Connell on Sept. 29, 1933. She was the eldest of 10 children. After graduating from St. Agnes High School, she began working as a secretary for six years. At age 24, she became a TWA stewardess (flight attendant), earning her “Million Mile Pin” by flying the route from Kansas City to Rome throughout her career. She “clipped her wings” in 1961 after marrying her husband, Larry. They ultimately settled their home and dental practice in Denver. She gave birth to six children in less than seven years and was a stay-at-home mother for many years. She worked with Larry for 25 years before they retired together.
Jo Ann was generous, creative and loved beautiful things. She found joy in making a home, gardening and entertaining. A superb cook, she loved creating feasts for holidays, events and celebrations to share with family and friends. She enjoyed sports, was an excellent tennis player and loved watching football and baseball with Larry. An avid supporter of the arts, and an accomplished pianist herself, Jo Ann delighted in going to concerts, theater, art shows, etc., especially when members of her family’s talents were showcased.
Her Christian faith was supremely important to her, and she strived to live her beliefs by supporting justice and peace issues whenever and wherever possible. Jo Ann remained unwaveringly committed to practicing her Catholic faith all her life. She and Larry were co-members of the Loretto Community. Jo Ann was a mainstay of the Thomas Merton Society from when it began under Mary Luke Tobin SL.
Jo Ann was preceded in death by her husband, Larry, and her son, Steve. She is survived by five of her six children: Denise (Jeffrey) Frederick, Md., Patrice (Greg) Morrison, Colo., Vincent (Bettina) Littleton, Colo., Laura (Todd) Parachute, Colo., and Janice (Jeff) West Lafayette, Ind.; 10 grandchildren: Tyler, Courtney, Ryan, Claire, Conner, Molly, Eleanor, Lucy, Nicholas and Luke; three great-grandchildren: Betsy, John and Luca; and eight of her 10 siblings: Paul, Bob, Tom, Kathy, Judy, Marty, Maureen and Elaine; as well as many other beloved relatives and friends.
A funeral Mass for Jo Ann was celebrated Jan. 30 at Mount Olivet Cemetery Chapel in Wheat Ridge, Colo., followed by Jo Ann’s and Larry’s committal service.
Please keep Jo Ann, her family and all her loved ones in your prayers. May she rest in peace.