Helen (Jo) Josephine McNeil|
Helen Josephine Connolly McNeil, known as Jo, was born in Olympia, Washington in 1925 to Corinne Marie Bordeaux Connolly and James A. Connolly, and died peacefully in Seattle surrounded by family on August 8, 2013.
Jo graduated from Olympia High School and then studied at the School of Nursing at Seattle University. In 1947, she married Bob McNeil and the couple eventually settled in Bellevue. Jo was a woman who could do it all. She gave birth to four children in eight years; had a long and rewarding career that won her a "Lifetime Achievement Award in Public Health Nursing;" and was an entrepreneur in Seattle real estate. After many years at the Seattle King County Health Department tackling challenges not found in textbooks, she researched maternal and child services in Kuwait for her dissertation in Epidemiology at the University of Washington where she taught nursing. She also taught at Clemson University and University of Texas at El Paso and attained her dream job as head of Public Health Nursing for the State of Virginia. Jo and Bob retired to Seaview, Washington where they celebrated their sixtieth anniversary. Cooking, gardening, sailing and family were her pleasures when she wasn't traveling.
Jo is survived by her four children and their spouses: Sheri McNeil Andrews, Rob McNeil, and KC McNeil of Seattle, and Maureen McNeil of New York City; nine grandchildren and three great granddaughters; her brother Jack Connolly of Olympia and sister Jill Hanigan of Payette, Idaho. Jo always encouraged the dreams and aspirations of others and was known for her wit and wisdom. She recently counseled:"You don't have to change the whole world, only half of it." Her family, friends, and community will miss her deeply.
A funeral service celebrating her life will be held September 9th at 11:00 AM at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 732 18th Ave E. on Capitol Hill. Contributions may be sent in her name to the School of Nursing at Seattle University.
Published in The Seattle Times on Sept. 1, 2013