‘Happy to be on the right side of the grass’ at 91

A salute to Richmond News columnist Jo Ellen Dale

By Liz Johnson/Staff Writer

JO-ELLEN-DALE-1970S-WEBNinety-one years ago tomorrow, the world welcomed little Josephine Ellen Cureton onto this earth in Macon, Ga. Little did the world know what an impact that baby girl would have on Ray County, Mo., years later.

Indeed, Josephine Ellen is now better known as Jo Ellen Dale, a recognized name throughout Richmond.

At some point, Dale began using the name “Jo Ellen” instead of Josephine. She prefers to just be called “Jo.”

During the last eight years, Jo Ellen has been the Richmond News’ social columnist. Her first column, “Jo’s Jottings,” ran in the Thursday, May 29, 2008, edition. During that time, she has kept Ray Countians in the know about social events, family reunions, trips, meetings and so forth.

“I told people that it was not my column. It was theirs. But if they don’t send (information), I can’t jot,” she said.

Last Friday’s edition of the News contained the last Jo’s Jottings column. Contact from the socializing public has slowed down, so Dale made the difficult decision to end her column. Dale said she was stopping for “several valid reasons … Jo will jot no more.”

Readers will miss her upbeat jottings, and the News staff will miss her weekly visits to the newsroom to drop off her column. As Dale takes one step further into her nineties, however, she continues to remain active.

Volunteering is one activity she enjoys.

“You have to keep going,” she said. “I volunteer a lot.”

Dale presently volunteers at Ray County Memorial Hospital, working at the front desk twice a week and at the gift shop. She said she has been volunteering since her husband, Dick, died in 2002. They were on a trip to celebrate their 50th anniversary when Dick collapsed and died suddenly.

“I got in such a depression,” she said, “I finally figured out that if I got out and saw people and volunteered, that it would help.”

At one time Dale volunteered at the Richmond Chamber of Commerce office answering phones, but that became difficult due to a congenital ear defect.

“It’s not an easy thing,” says Dale, “I go to breakfast with friends every Wednesday. I can lip read pretty well, but I can’t hear my friends well.

“I’m better at speech reading.”

In ruminating about being in her 90s, she said, “91 sure got here in a hurry. Tempus fugit … how time flies.”

Despite being born in Georgia, Dale found her way to Richmond regularly. Her cousins were Alice and Harry Jones (parents to Ernie Jones, owner of The Jones Store).

“Alice and I were first cousins,” said Dale.

She remembers her high school years in Georgia.

The complete story is in the Friday, June 3, 2016 Richmond News.

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