Witten, Josephine McNeil
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passed away in peace at 91 years-old, September 19, 2013. Jo "Aunt Jo" was born in La Feria, Texas, as one of four children to Harry Pendleton and Dorothy Elizabeth McNeil. She grew up in Mercedes, Texas and was the first in her family to attend college, Mary Hardin Baylor, thanks to her father bartering his citrus crop for her education. After graduation, Jo taught school while her country was entering WWII. Knowing it was the right thing to do she enlisted in the Navy WAVES and went to officer's training school and served as an Ensign stationed in New York City until 1946. New York, is where she met Warren "Bud" Henry Wittens, a Bostonian, whom she married in 1948. They built a home - a quasi "farm" with horses, sheep and geese 20 miles North of New York City and brought up four children: Susan, Warren "Win", Lark and Scott. In the 1970's Jo became a representative for the American Baptist Women of New York and started traveling the world. She was politically active in her community and helped Bud start Westchester Packaging Company- i.e. Tite Tie Corporation and then went on to own her own company, Ardsley Travel. Yet, tragedy struck and within 12 years Josephine had lost two of her oldest children to accidents and her husband to illness. Jo threw herself into international travel until in 2002 when she logged 197 countries visited and retired at age 80. In 2009 she moved permanently to Scottsdale, after being a snow bird for 10 years. Here she became involved with the Cactus WAVES, FBC of Scottsdale, her Scottish roots and JAZZ IN AZ., supporting the performance of Jazz in the Valley. Jo was fond of saying what a wonderful life she was living, with incredible friends and family and blessings galore! She is survived by her daughter Lark Wittens Katchur of Denver, CO., Scott McNeil Wittens of Shrub Oak, NY and three grand children, Blake Win Katchur and Ashley McNeil and Jack Ryan Wittens. Celebration of life service to be held at the First Baptist Church of Scottsdale at 4:00 p.m. Saturday, October 26, 2013 and the Scarsdale Baptist Church, New York in early December 2013.
Published in The Arizona Republic from Sept. 25 to Sept. 29, 2013