Jo Cawthra

Date of Birth

Apr 11,1939

Date of Death

Dec 05,2015

Jo Cawthra, age 76, of St. Charles, passed away Saturday, December 5, 2015, at Delnor Hospital in Geneva, IL, surrounded by the love and prayers of her daughters.
She was born April 11, 1939, in Lakewood, OH, the daughter of Steven and Millie (Schultz) Zaman.
Jo grew up in Lakewood and attended local schools. She graduated from Lakewood High School with the class of 1957.
Jo furthered her education at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH, and graduated with a Master’s degree in Art Education. During this time, Jo and her sister Nancy, traveled to Washington D.C. for JFK’s inauguration and ball. Jo then set her sights on the horizon and traveled alongside a dear friend who she met while working at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Irene, who was a survivor of the Holocaust. Destinations included many stops all over Europe, Turkey and eventually spent a month in Israel.
Once back on American soil, Jo found work at Franklin Elementary School in Lakewood, OH.
Jo met her husband, Bob Cawthra, while walking down the aisle in a friends wedding in 1961. A friendship bloomed and it wasn’t long before they walked down the aisle together again, this time as man and wife on October 28, 1963 in Cleveland, OH.
They began their new life in Cleveland for a time while Bob worked locally as a chemist. Later, the family would follow Bob’s job to upstate New York in 1969, then to Maine in 1973. They eventually settled in St. Charles in 1977. Jo went back to school, this time to Northern Illinois University, where she graduated once more, this time with a Masters degree in Art Therapy. Following Bob’s passing in 2005, Jo continued to fill the home with love, laughter and memories for the next many years.
In college, Jo was very active in the Newman Club and later, a she was a proud board member of the Yellow House Artists and Norris Cultural Arts Gallery.
Jo was dedicated to Mutual Ground as an Art Therapist for many years where she helped clients tackle difficult situations through art. In addition, she was a professional creative artist, using oils and oil pastels, bringing life to paintings that lived and breathed in the sacred places of her heart. Jo always enjoyed the changing scenes while traveling but was thankful for home, hearth and her bountiful garden upon her return. Both Jo and Bob enjoyed going to their home on Sanibel Island, taking in the views that stayed with them for a lifetime. After Bob passed, she visited Tahiti and New Zealand with her daughter Tobi, but the theater called to her as well, enjoying many shows as a season pass holder with her daughter Darci, at the Paramount Theater in Aurora. Jo had very few “acquaintances”, a relationship with Jo meant a deep connection that transcended age and time. Basically, if you knew her, you loved her, end of story. Jo’s patience was a deep well that she drew upon time and time again and the love for her grandsons was equally fathomless.
She is survived by two daughters: Tobi (Doug Manning) Cawthra and Darci (Jeremy) Davito; Two grandsons: Zach Davito and Doug Manning Jr.; one sister, Nancy Zaman; several nieces and nephews and a community of friends, including the much loved “Hat Family”.
Jo was preceded in death by her parents: Steven and Millie Zaman; her husband Bob and one brother, Steven Zaman.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in Jo’s name to benefit her favorite charities. Checks may be made to the “Jo Cawthra Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at the Conley Funeral Home Facebook Page and visit for her full life story.

Following visitation at 7 p.m., December 11, 2015

Visitation will be 4:30-7 p.m., with a funeral service to follow at 7:30 p.m., on Friday, December 11, 2015, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119.

Private family interment will follow cremation at a later date.

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