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JO ELLEN 7/9/1945- 4/27/2016 Jo Ellen arrived on this earth in a high dessert just east of the Sierra Nevada. It was the summer of 1945 in a not quite yet tamed "Biggest Little City in the World" that she first met her father, Joseph M. Geiser. He was a larger than life man she loved dearly, but lost far too early. With his passing, she was enveloped in the love of 3 sisters; her mother, Lucile P. Ghiggeri, and her aunts Elizabeth Boero and Catherine Parr. She was nurtured. As different as the elements, yet as complimentary as nature, the network of extended family and dearest friends formed an umbrella under which a young Jo Ellen learned of strength and perspective. It was later in the summer of 1968 by the River Main, in Northern Bavaria that a now beautiful wife of an Army officer, James E. Dunks, brought forth a son, Jeffrey Bryan. Almost 6000 miles distant and nearly 3 years later the family welcomed a daughter, Kathryn Michelle. She had become the handle of the parasol under which she had grown. The admiration her in-laws, Ben, Lena and Frank Dunks had for Jo formed additional ribs; support for an ever expanding canvas of loved ones. The canopy which had protected and guided her now shielded them In the Northwest, she began work as a bookkeeper for the March of Dimes. Lifelong friendships were tightly spun through the tireless campaigns for children's health and with them, a passion. It would be a cause, she thereafter, held most dear. Continuing with support for Seattle Children's and the local 3 Rivers Children's Hospital Guild, she endeavored to promote child wellness and ease the pain of the most innocent. Within balance lies imperfection and from the torrents of Life there is no perfect shelter. Thus Jo was married 3 times. Jack Weber was an enigmatic source of joy. His brother, 2 sisters and their collective families formed special bonds with her. Yet, in the same instant they began a hand in hand journey of wonderment, it ended. Jack was gone. In the wake of grief, she and retired physicist, Charles Lindenmeier connected. Through their individual struggles with the sorrow of loss they rediscovered Love. In marriage, Jo was a wife and stepmom. For the first time, though, she was also something new. As grandmother to Ryan and Sarah Lindenmeier, she welcomed them with all the grandeur her umbrella offered. They were nurtured and loved and as Lucy, Rowan, Declan, Gina, Clayton and Mariah joined the clan there was always room for more. Her devotion to those she would call Family was boundless. Today, those who loved Jo Ellen seek solace in the memories, photographs and kind words. As we move onto tomorrow, though, passionately support the causes you hold dear and give of yourself to those you embrace as Family. Remember the umbrella; for on all paths we wander, the sights to behold are always greater secure from the elements that seek to distract or discomfort.
Published in Tri-City Herald on May 11, 2016