Helen Jo Wills

Jo was born Helen Jo Wills on November 23rd, 1926. She was the third daughter of Clara and Richard Wills. She spent most of her childhood years in Stuttgart, Arkansas. She graduated from Stuttgart High School in 1944. Soon after the end of World War Two, she left home and began a long career as a working woman. She worked many years for the US Navy Department in New Orleans, Louisiana. She subsequently transferred to a position in Washington State. In the final phase of her career, she transferred from the Navy Department to work at the Social Security Administration headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland, where she worked until retirement in the early 1980s.

She was happily married for many decades, and was proud to be called Jo Cates. She and her husband retired to Tallahassee, Florida. But in retirement their marriage failed. She then moved to Fredericksburg, Virginia where she lived near her youngest sister, Bobbye, and could frequently visit her eldest sister, Evelyn. 

In the last decades of her life, she enjoyed many opportunities to travel, vacation, and visit with all of her surviving siblings: Evelyn, Vernon, Artie, Billye and Bobbye. She was intensely stricken by the death of her brother, RC, in 1977. She was deeply devoted to her eighteen nieces and nephews.

In the last year of her life, she dealt with physical ailments and dementia. She went to live in a care facility near her niece, Dianne. She passed away on August 7th, 2020, three months shy of her 94th birthday in the midst of the COVID pandemic. She is stilled missed and affectionately remembered.