March 1, 2018
By Pat Edwards
A major piece of my recent history passed from my life today. She was born Josephine Anne (JoAnne) Roach about 10 or 11 years before I was born. I became acquainted with her in 2008 through the pages of Groundwaters magazine. She wrote under her married name of Jo-Brew and we published a profile of her a year later.
Jo eventually invited me to help her compile and organize the research she had begun doing on the history of Highway 99. We worked closely together for almost 3 years before both books we produced were published and then we began touring Oregon, accepting invitations to speak about our joint project.
Jo became much more than a co-author to me. She was my colleague and, most importantly, a close friend. She shared so much with me during those years of touring and speaking. It was a heady experience for us both. After 2 years of promoting our books, Jo was diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer she had fought and defeated as breast cancer before she came into my life. She shared her journey with me and we grew closer.
I got a copy of her latest (and last) newsletter called “Something Brewing” in the mail today. She talked about our plans this spring to make some trips down to Douglas County where she wanted to begin further research on some of the areas there as well as a project close to her heart… the history of the Cow Creek band of the Umpqua Tribe.
Shortly after I read her newsletter, I got a call from a nurse at the Sacred Heart River Bend emergency room. Jo’s family had asked her to call me to break the news that Jo had passed unexpectedly this morning and I was invited to join them at her bedside. Unortunately, I am dealing with a respiratory infection and was not able to go.
But, my heart, love and prayers are with each of them today as we all try to accept that she is gone.I will miss her so much!