Jo Ellen Adams McConnell, age 74 died at 11:05 p.m. on Friday, February 22, 2013 at her home with her caring family surrounding her. She was born January 13, 1939, at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, IN a daughter of James DuPont and Clarice Vivian (Mink) Adams. A Whitley County native, she graduated with the class of 1957 from Columbia City High School, where she participated in speech, band, and was editor of "The Eagle" school newspaper. Jo Ellen graduated from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH in 1964 with a B.A. degree in Spanish. In 1969, she graduated from Lawton School for Dental Assistants in Encino, CA. Jo Ellen also attended the University of California at Berkeley, Michigan State University, and Mexico City College.
She worked as a journalist at the Columbia City Post and the Commercial-Mail, as Society Editor, Wire Editor, and Managing Editor. Other jobs were the Garden Gift Shop, legal secretary, tour escort, dental assistant, high school Spanish teacher, caregiver, and translator for Essex Traffic. She had shown Tennessee Walking. Three Gaited and Arabian horses.
A descendant of early first families of Whitley County, John Quincy Adams and John Collins, she was a life member of both the Whitley County Historical Society and Indiana Historical Society. Jo Ellen worked on and edited the Whitley County Historical Bulletin 14 years. She was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church in Columbia City until it closed May 31, 2009. Other memberships were The Coterie, Whitley County Genealogical Society, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Colonel Augustin de la Balme Daughters of the American Revolution, Acres Land Trust, First Families of Whitley County and Pioneer Families of Whitley County.
An original member of the Recommending Committee of the John and Hester Adams Trust, she also served as chairman for 29 years. She was the last person living of the Adams family who resided in the James C. Collins home on North Whitley Street. Built in 1860, the building is presently serving as the office of the Whitley County Community Foundation.
Her first marriage was to Michael A. McConnell D.D.S. from 1959-1973. Her second marriage was to Gregory W. Copp from 1984-1997. In addition to Columbia City, she was a former resident of Cleveland, OH; Topeka, KS; Peru, IN; Mexico City, Mexico; and Berkeley, CA. At age 13-years-old, she crossed the Atlantic with her family to Europe aboard the Cunard ship Queen Mary and returned on the Queen Elizabeth. She enjoyed traveling in foreign countries, especially Costa Rico, caring for animals, and participating in her church. Other interests were Whitley County history, speaking Spanish, and spending time at her Crooked Lake cottage.
Jo Ellen’s family always came first in her life and her survivors include a son, James A. (September) McConnell, D.D.S., Columbia City, and a daughter, Marcia A. (Bill) Meader, Antioch, CA and three grandchildren, Maxwell and Miranda McConnell and Rachel Meader; seven nieces and nephews; 10 great nieces and nephews; and five great-great nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by a brother, James W. Adams, sister, Lois Jeanne Fahl and one nephew, Jon Fahl.
Visitation will be held on Friday, March 1, 2013 from 2-8:00 p.m. at DeMoney-Grimes Countryside Park Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. A Celebration of Life service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 2, 2013 at the funeral home with Rev. Jeffrey Copp, Agape Church of the Brethren, Fort Wayne, officiating. Committal services and burial will follow at Greenhill Cemetery, Columbia City. Memorials may be given to Whitley County Humane Society or Whitely County Historical Society. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home.