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1933 Jo 2021

Jo Ann Whittridge

January 11, 1933 — May 10, 2021

Jo Ann Whittridge, age 88, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 10, 2021 surrounded by her adoring family. She was born on January 11, 1933 to Hettie and “J.I.” Wills in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and she was the big sister to Eddie and Charles Wills. She moved from Kentucky in high school and spent much of her young life in Dayton, Ohio with her family and many lifetime friends. She graduated from Stivers High School in Dayton, Ohio in 1951.

Jo Ann met Lowell “Ben” Whittridge at First United Presbyterian Church and on April 19, 1952 in that same church, they were married. They moved to Key West, Florida where Ben was stationed in the U.S. Navy for two years before moving back to Ohio. They had three children, Richard, Lynne, and Jeanne, and spent most of their children’s youth in Washington Court House, Ohio. They relocated to Westerville in 1974 where they have lived ever since, enjoying their happy retirement years and recently, the celebration of their 69th wedding anniversary.

Jo Ann had a rich and fulfilled life. She had tremendous energy and vitality and never seemed to grow old in spirit or in style. She was a successful realtor for many years and bought and managed rental properties throughout her life. She was a skilled housewife who managed her home, gardens, financial investments, taxes, and rental properties flawlessly. She had a “can do” attitude and was capable of tackling any challenge, even technological ones - she could text, set up a Fire Stick on her tv, and was a whizz on her many Apple products!

In addition to her organizational and management talents, Jo Ann had an intuitive green thumb that she inherited from her beloved “Granny,” Sudie Wills. She loved gardening, caring for her landscaping and trees, and enjoyed serene walks at her local park.

Perhaps her most enduring legacy is the love and commitment she had for her family and friends. She had an active social calendar that kept her so busy that her family would often laugh about her lack of availability. Several euchre and bridge clubs with dear friends and outings with her “lunch bunch” kept her weekly schedule full. She had an annual visit with her cherished high school friends that will always be a special memory.

Ben considered Jo Ann to be his rock and best friend, and believes that after 69 loving years of marriage they truly became one (Mark 10:8). He found her patient wit to be amusing - she adeptly waited for opportunities to send what he calls “zingers” his way, and has a specific few that he thinks about when he needs a good laugh.

She had a unique and special relationship with each of her children and grandchildren. She never missed a birthday, anniversary, holiday, or special occasion and always came bearing gifts, food, decor, and anything else that was needed to ensure a memorable time with her family. She had a noticeable and warm presence, and she was missed when she wasn’t around.

She enjoyed weekly Friday night bridge matches with her son Richard and daughter-in-law, Lana, as well as annual weekend trips to Cincinnati for baseball games. She loved her weekend shopping trips with her daughter Lynne where they discussed and worked on house and garden projects together - interests they shared. She delighted in daily chats and long weekly Wednesday lunches with her daughter Jeanne, where she would often consult with son-in-law, affectionately “Billy,” who she considered her financial confidante.

As the first grandchild, Brandy and Granny spent a lot of time together in Brandy’s early years and they formed a close bond. Every month they shared happy visits with Ben and Jeanne in the form of “BBJJ” (Ben, Brandy, Jo Ann, and Jeanne) euchre tournaments. Granddaughter Jamie especially cherishes the ritual of her college years when she and Granny would shop together, load up a van, and drive almost three hours to Miami, Ohio to decorate her home away from home for each academic year.

Granddaughter Kat had a special connection with Granny through her inherited green thumb and love for gardening. They were also a formidable euchre team that celebrated many victories over their opponents. Granddaughter Elizabeth and Granny shared a love of horses. Granny attended every horse show and loved to help her care for the horses, recounting the times she would bring her grandfather’s horse up to the fence to ride. The entire family will forever cherish the lifetime memories they made during the many August summers they spent together at Walloon Lake in Michigan.

Jo Ann thought the world of her entire family - she loved, appreciated, and was regularly in contact with her brother, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews, and their children on both sides of the family. She made family reunions a priority and played an integral part in photographing and archiving the treasured events.

Jo Ann had a big and warm heart. She contributed routinely to charities including Habitat for Humanity and Faith Mission in support of the hungry and homeless. For many years, she was an advocate for a friend that was fighting a battle with Multiple Sclerosis - her friend called Jo Ann “her angel.”  Her loving spirit, vitality, and energy on earth will be greatly missed. Rest in peace, until we meet again.

Jo Ann is preceded in death by her brother Charles Bert Wills.

Left to cherish her memories are her devoted husband Ben, son Richard (Lana), daughter Lynne Gadrim, daughter Jeanne Courson (Bill), grandchildren Brandy Gadrim, Jamie Gadrim, Kat Courson, Elizabeth Courson, brother Eddie Wills, and a host of many nieces, nephews, cousins, and extended family members and friends that she loved dearly.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, May 22, 2021:

11:00 Viewing/Visitation at Central College Presbyterian Church Sanctuary

975 Sunbury Road, Westerville, OH

12:00 Celebration of Life at Central College Presbyterian Church Sanctuary

In lieu of flowers, a contribution can be made to the Central College Presbyterian Church at .

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jo Ann Whittridge, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Saturday, May 22, 2021

11:00am - 12:00pm (Eastern time)

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Starts at 12:00pm (Eastern time)

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