Jo Ellen D'Ambrosio
Peterborough, NH — It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of a very bright light. Jo Ellen Lindh (Orcutt) D'Ambrosio, age 80, passed away peacefully on June 5, 2021.
Jo Ellen lived her life to the fullest as an accomplished, intelligent, forward thinking, independent woman who was an inspiration and a trailblazer. She grew up in Delaware and moved to New Hampshire where she married Bill Orcutt and, together, raised two daughters in Goffstown, NH.
She was a graduate of the University of Delaware and received her master's degree in English at the University of New Hampshire. In her early 20's, she marched in civil rights parades and was an active member of the NHCLU and the NAACP She worked as a much-loved English teacher at Goffstown High School during the 1960's.
She served in the New Hampshire Legislature on behalf of the Democratic Party as a State Representative from Goffstown from 1971 through 1979. She went on to serve for 10 years as Executive Director of the New Hampshire Judicial Council, a state agency which oversees the judicial system and ensures funding for various legal aid programs, including the Indigent Defense Fund.
In 1990, Jo Ellen moved to Boston where she received her second master's degree- this time in Psychology- and began the next chapter of her life as a psychotherapist. She moved back to southern New Hampshire and specialized in work with children, trauma, and EMDR therapy.
In 2010, Jo Ellen's adventures were far from over. She married Tony D'Ambrosio from Rindge, and moved to Peterborough, NH where she continued her political activism, community organizing, mindfulness teaching and healing, and bridge playing (among many other activities). She was very proud of her work in creating the Voter Information Committee to ensure that the citizens of Peterborough were encouraged and supported to register and vote.
She loved sleepovers with her grandchildren and cuddles on the couch. She traveled around the world and celebrated many cultures, cuisines, and people. She was a wonderful storyteller and an even better listener. She was a woman of many talents, including singing, writing, playing the piano (and the organ!), and speaking French and Italian.
Jo Ellen was the most joyful in the summer by the lake with her loved ones. She remained very close to her group of childhood friends from Delaware. They included Jackie, Gail, Ann, Aline, and her very best friend – Kay el Samahy. She also loved and cherished each of their families as if they were her own, especially the entire el Samahy family - Ahmed, Rami, Kelly, Nora, Patrick, Zayn, and Ziyad.
Jo Ellen will be deeply missed. She leaves behind two daughters, Kirsten Singleton and Marcy Wells; two grandchildren, Hannah Zinn and Liam Gleason; her first husband, Bill Orcutt; her older brother, Alfred Lindh and his family ; and of, course, her beloved husband, Tony D'Ambrosio and his two kids, Ross and Ken D'Ambrosio as well as Ken's wife, Terri and daughters Bella and Brittainy.
A celebration of life will be held later this summer. (http://bit.ly/CelebrateJoEllen
A scholarship fund will be set up in Jo Ellen's name to provide assistance to students from NH who want to study English or Political Science.
Published by Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on Jun. 10, 2021.