Phyllis "Jo" Johnson (September 18, 1932 - December 19, 2015)

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  • "We both will always remember you with great fondness and..."
  • "Jo was my favorite aunt. She will be greatly missed!"
    - Christie Day
  • "May her memory be eternal."
    - Karen and David Papandrew
  • "Even though we didn't know Jo personally, she sounds like a..."
  • "Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Cyd. Hugs, Roger and..."
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Obituary



Phyllis Canatsey "Jo" Johnson passed from this life on December 19, 2015.

Jo was born to Dr. Edward and Inez Canatsey on September 18, 1932, in Jacksonville, Illinois. She was the youngest of five sisters and two brothers.

Jo graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1950. She continued her education with an R.N. diploma from St. Luke's Hospital, Denver, Colorado, and a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Colorado.

In 1962, Jo entered the United States Air Force as a first lieutenant and worked as a mental health clinician and instructor, a flight nurse, a clinical specialist and an administrator.

The Air Force sent Jo to Yale University to obtain her master's degree in administration/mental health nursing, and she became the mental health nursing consultant to the Air Force surgeon general.

Outside of her military duties, Jo found off-duty time to lead 40 young cadet Girl Scouts.

In 1982, she retired from the Air Force after 21 years of service with the rank of full colonel.

When Sandpoint, Idaho, became her new home, Jo became aware of the community's many needs and thus became a founding member of the Bonner County Homeless Task Force.

This nonprofit organization provided shelter for the homeless in Blue Haven, shelter for domestic violence victims at Harmony House, day care for low-income families in the Little Feet Center and financial support through Fibber McGhees closet, a thrift shop.

Jo was the president of this organization for more than 10 years.

Other commitments included being a founding member of the local Habitat for Humanity, where she was chair of the selection committee, a volunteer and later a board member of the food bank, as well as a member of One Voice, the Christian Connection and the Human Rights Task Force.

As a Presbyterian, she helped her church develop and implement a latchkey program for after-school activities.

Jo was rewarded for all her community involvement by being selected as a Woman of Wisdom in 2000.

Jo moved in 2009 to Sequim, where she finally retired and spent her free time gardening, traveling and supporting various nonprofit organizations. Until her death, she supported 2-4 children per year for more than 50 years in the Christian Children's and World Vision missions.

Jo's communities were made a better place for her continuous support, compassion and acts of kindness. She will be sorely missed.

Jo leaves behind her sister, Helen; numerous nieces and nephews; and her longtime companion of 40 years, Cyd Savoy.

There will be a memorial service on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at 11 a.m. in the Kensington Room at Sherwood Assisted Living Facility, 550 West Hendrickson Road, Sequim.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jo's name to the Bonner Homeless Transitions, P.O. Box 1696, Sandpoint, ID 83864.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Jan. 17, 2016
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