A native Californian, Jo spent her early years in Lynwood, California where she was active in school bands, orchestras and church youth groups. Jo rode and competed for many years with the Montebello Horseriders club, riding in parades and rodeos.
During her college years she served as assistant director and counselor for the Pomona Valley Campfire Girls and received a B.A. from Whittier College in 1957.
Jo was an avid hiker, conducting camp activities in the Barton Flats area of the San Bernardino mountains. She was a member of the San Gorgonio Guides Hiking Club – climbing San Gorgonio, Mt. Baldy, Pikes Peak and minor mountains in Hawaii, Alaska and Canada.
Jo taught elementary school in the Whittier City School District for 32 years, traveling in the summers to all 50 states and Canada.