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1925 - 2013 Obituary Condolences
Aug. 12, 1925 - Nov. 15, 2013 Always known by "Jo" and rarely by Joyce, our mother passed away into sunny skies and balmy breezes at the Kansas City Hospice House in the very room that she and Stan funded. Born to a Swedish mother, Florence Hermione Sealander, and a French-Canadian father, Albert Ira White, in Hartford, Conn., on Aug. 12, 1925, -- Jo was an only child, and she would not let a listener forget that fact easily. Jo's roots went back to the American Revolution and all the way to the surnamed White family on the Mayflower. She loved her country, the American flag, and was decidedly patriotic! Jo loved high fashion, parties, French perfume, social events, Sinatra, dances, endless shopping -- never seeming to tire of entertainment and fun. She cherished her childhood days with cousin, Barbara, or "Bobby," Brighton High School in Rochester, New York, and Briarcliffe College, an all-female college in Briarcliff Manor, New York, where she graduated with an Associate of Arts degree. Jo met her husband, Stan while he was an engineering student at the University of Rochester on the GI bill, they married in the fall of 1948, and shared 63 years of married life. To save money, they lived with her parents while Stan studied for dual degrees in chemical and mechanical engineering that he earned. Jo worked at the fashionable McCurdy's department store as a buyer and director of fashion shows, appearing often as a photographic model for Eastman Kodak and other national clients. Ready for every photo opportunity, Mom loved to flirt with the camera, and to smile her way into adventures. In a word, she was vivacious. Jo and Stan moved briefly to Cincinnati for Stan's training with Proctor & Gamble, but when they were transferred to Kansas City, Mom knew she had found her second home. Trolley cars for rides to Crestwood, the Easter bunnies on the Plaza, Fairyland, shopping for early American antiques -- these were favorite memories preserved in snapshots. Jo was always ready to evaluate the latest fashions, and then put her own personal statement on them. With three kids, Jo was active in the Girl Scouts, Musettes, Prairie Village Garden Club, Village Presbyterian Church Circle, Homestead Country Club, and the Country Club Plaza where she worked first for European furriers and then her beloved Woolf Brothers for decades. She volunteered for many years at The Children's Therapeutic Learning Center enjoying the hands-on activities with the children, and later joined the Board of Directors. She was active in Lyric Opera Circle, the Fireside Committee, and the Tomahawk Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). But, her favorite avocation by far was being a docent at The Nelson- Atkins Museum of Art where she achieved Docent Emeriti status after more than 20 years of service. In 2012, Jo made a gift to the hard- working, volunteer docents to fund an annual series of lectures for continuing docent education entitled "The Jo Hamilton Docent Training Series" to bring in national experts as speakers and teachers. Jo and Stan lived for a time in Toronto, Canada, making many friends, and she enjoyed travel throughout the world with Stan, and daughter, Sara. Mother loved the sights with a keen eye toward museums and history. Jo's home and her clothing reflected the many memories of far- flung lands and close-to-the-heart friends. After retirement, Stan and Jo enjoyed their colonial Mexican- style home and garden on the 18th fairway of The Landings Yacht, Golf, and Tennis Club in Ft. Myers, Fla. Mom was the proud achiever of a "hole-in-one" on this golf course. Jo is survived by her three grown children. Sara Leigh Hamilton of Prairie Village; Laurie Joyce Hamilton of Kansas City; Bennett W. Hamilton of Leawood, and the family's beloved Canine Companion for Independence, Bry. Jo leaves behind many friends in Rochester, Kansas City, and Ft. Myers. A private family service will be held at the Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village where Jo will be interred with Stan in the family vault in the columbarium. The family respectfully requests contributions to the DAR, Hospice House, or The Village Church in her memory.
Published in Kansas City Star from Nov. 17 to Nov. 24, 2013
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