The diocese mourns the death of one of its most dedicated lay leaders, Ms. Jo Ricks. A member of Standing Committee and former delegate to convention, Ms. Ricks was an active member of St. George’s, Valley Lee.
Jo was already on Standing Committee when The Rev. Sheila McJilton was elected to join that group: “From Day One, she welcomed me and encouraged my expression of thought about our deliberations. Before anyone else mentioned it, she told me, ‘You need to be the next President of Standing Committee.’ So when someone else articulated that request, I smiled, knowing that Jo had been, in some small way, a prophetic voice….Jo was unfailingly optimistic, deeply grounded in her faith, and joyful. Even when she had to wear a wig, her joy was undiminished. Her presence on Standing Committee was, indeed, a light in our midst, and we already miss her.”
The Rev. Greg Syler, her rector at St. George’s, further reflects, “Like that song she sang growing up in her North Carolina Methodist church, Jo let her light shine. She was a great friend and charming host. At various pool parties or with Jo and Jeff, her husband, in their comfortable “Island House” — the home they made on St. George Island — Jo would keep conversation alive, ask interesting questions, play in the pool with our daughter, and connect the most interesting people to one another. That light, her light, allowed others to shine in its reflection. She helped me better understand D.C., too — their primary, or, other residence — and I loved stories of “Jo Jo” in her glory in the 70’s, and found it hard to believe that Logan Circle was ever anything unlike the posh neighborhood it is today, and has become — in large part thanks to Jo’s pioneering work in D.C. real estate. Her light, as it turns out, truly was God’s light — and she had a special place in her heart for all sorts of people; remembering back to her early days in a more gritty D.C., especially those marginalized and considered ‘other’.”
“In fact,” Rev. Syler continues, “One of Jo’s greatest surprises came at the very end — when her obituary was published this week in The Washington Post. ‘I had no idea she did all those things!’ I’ve heard all week, time and again. Indeed, no one knew. She was, very simply, a great friend to so, so many and a brilliant, radiant light.”
As a diocese, we affirm that Ms. Ricks was a faithful servant of Christ and His church, and with a heart full of thanksgiving, we say, “Well Done, you were a good and faithful servant, rest well in the joy and presence of the Lord. Alleluia! Amen!”