Jo Ann (McCarty) Williams


Jo Ann (McCarty) Williams, 79, passed away in the early morning hours of March 18, 2023, under the
care of Kirksville Manor Care Center and Hospice of Northeast Missouri. She is survived by her
daughters, Heather Leigh Williams and Paige Michelle (Williams) Brown. May she be at peace, joining
her late husband Michael Allen Williams, her favorite pet, cocker spaniel Speckles, and her many
relatives who left this ground before her.
Jo was born on January 2, 1944, to parents Harold Lee and Emma Myrtle (Barnes) McCarty. She grew
up on the family farm near Hatton, Mo. with her older brother Robert Lee. After graduating from Mexico
High School, Jo proudly attended the University of MO in Columbia, studying to be a teacher. It is there
on a blind date, that she met Michael, a hard-working farmer and agriculture student. They married on
July 10, 1965, in the beautiful AP Green Chapel on the MU campus. The newlyweds moved near
Michael’s hometown of Oregon, Mo., where Jo earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree from
Northwest Missouri State College, Maryville, in 1967.
Following the direction of the US Army, the young couple soon found themselves in El Paso, Texas. With an
honorable discharge and a plan to head home to Missouri in mid-December, Jo brought her first
daughter, Heather Leigh, into this world on December 3, 1969. Back in Missouri, the new parents moved
between Columbia and Jefferson City while Michael finished his master's degree in agriculture. It was in
Jefferson City that the couple welcomed their second daughter to their family, Paige Michelle, born March
29, 1973.
A few more moves were in Jo’s future as Michael began working for various USDA-ASCS offices in JC,
Butler, and Fulton. When the Fulton job became a permanent position, the couple could really set down
roots, buying their first home together. This is the town Jo called home for many years. She worked hard
in a variety of jobs, and loved her family as a daughter, a wife, a mother, and eventually a young widow
when she suffered the loss of her husband early in her marriage. Jo continued to raise her daughters to
be strong women. Through demonstration, she taught her children resilience during the most challenging
of times. She helped her children develop into compassionate adults, simultaneously caring for her own
aging mother.
With the eventual passing of her mother in the neighborhood care home, Jo bravely left Fulton to make a
fresh start in Columbia, a town she had loved and called home throughout her life. She spent her
middle years there, creating a stable home for her children and grandchildren to visit. After retiring from
Mizzou’s University Bookstore, she even tried packing up everything to move to Laporte, Colorado so she
could be more involved with her grandchildren. She was loved by her Colorado family, but in her own
words, “I want to go home. I miss home.” Returning to the land of Mizzou yet again, she transitioned
through senior care facilities, moving to Kirksville for her final years, under the watchful eye and loving
care of daughter Paige.
Jo was preceded in death by her husband Mike, her brother Robert, her parents, Harold and Emma,
and many cousins, aunts, uncles, and best friends. She is survived by her daughters Heather Williams of
Ft. Collins, Colo., and Paige Brown of Kirksville and her grandchildren, Ella Paige and Graham
Michael Watson.
At Mom’s request, there will be no funeral or memorial service. Though we couldn’t quite put her “out in
the pasture when I’m old” as she joked for decades, we find peace knowing she is no longer suffering.