Jo Ann Ashmore was born to Robert and Virginia Parks in 1934 and grew up on their farm in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The family eventually included five children; Dot, Frances, Richard and her favorite brother, Pete. She graduated from Columbia High School in 1952. Soon after, she married and moved to Topeka, Kansas, where she started her career with the U.S. government in 1954. She and her husband Glenn Ashmore had three children; Steven Ashmore (Rachel), Lisa Ashmore Helton and Cherie Johnson. She was a proud grandmother of four grandchildren; Jolie Helton, Travis Ashmore (Ashley), Clare Helton and Jakob Eiche, as well as two great-grandchildren: Jaxson and Chloe.
Military assignments led the family to Fort Walton Beach. After reaching the highest grade open to military secretaries, she began night and weekend college classes while still working full-time. In 1986, she completed her bachelor’s degree and graduated from the University of West Florida on the same day as her older daughter.
Jo Ann was an active Guardian Ad Litem who worked with children within the court system for 17 years. She was also an occasional advocate for the elderly. An enthusiastic member of Beta Sigma Phi, she served in every officer position and also represented her chapter within the International Organization.
She said her guiding principle was given by her mother when she was 6: “Always be nice to everyone and you will be rewarded.” This led to many lifetime friendships and influenced her faithful church attendance. She was a member of St. Simon’s on the Sound for the past 40 years. An alto, she loved singing with the choir during services and holiday performances. She traveled abroad and enjoyed shorter adventures with her friends. She is survived by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m., Monday, October 4, 2021 at St. Simon’s on the Sound. Visitation will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the chapel and services will follow in the nave.
Flowers are not permitted in the sanctuary on the day of the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to St. Simons’ Church Choir or Okaloosa Guardian Ad Litem program in her honor.