Posted By Kathleen David on August 25, 2012
Things kinda came to a halt for a bit yesterday when I received the news that my friend Josepha had passed away. I am sad for her passing but in some ways I can honestly believe that she is in a better place. The last few years have not been kind to her at all. Since it is now public knowledge I can say that she has been suffer from dementia for the past couple of years so the Jo I knew had wandered off about seven years ago.
You could always tell when Jo was at a convention. She had a distinctive laugh that you could hear across a bar or a ballroom. We did a number of panels together over the years at various conventions. The range of things we talked about was vast. I knew if I was on a panel with her that I had a scholar that I could turn to with an academic point of view to add to the discussion. She had strong opinions and was perfectly willing to give those voice. I did have to break up a couple of verbal sparring matches between her and other panelists but that was part of having Jo on a panel with certain other individuals who decided to take her on.
She was a walking encyclopedia of folklore knowledge. If she didn’t know it, she knew who to ask to get you an accurate answer. She gave me one of my book credits for writing articles for an Encyclopedia of Folklore she was compiling and editing. I wrote about puppetry and its ties to religion and storytelling.
Then there were the bar discussions. Jo was always good for a drink and an interesting topic to talk about. I spent many an evening with her and our other friends talking our way from A to B with serious detours to Y and R while we were doing it. It is part of conventions that I have attended that I have enjoyed the most. Sitting down with other people who are smart and just talking. I think I surprised Jo a couple of times with my eclectic set of knowledge.
She was known more to the general public for her Star Trek novels that she did with Susan Schwartz.
She was always ready with a quip or a funny story and she will be missed.
She loved my puppets and always had questions about how I made them or about puppetry in general.
So Jo, here is what I got done yesterday and the day before. I am at my usual panic working mode to get everything done before DragonCon.
I am grateful that I knew Josepha and could count her as my friend.