Josephine (Jo) Christine Rhoads led a very full life, dedicated to service. She grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan, where she attended parochial school and completed her secondary education in a public high school. She studied gerontology in college and dedicated her entire career to serving elderly people, both in her parish and the wider community.
For many years, Jo was the office manager in a senior citizen high rise in Troy and Rochester, Michigan. Jo established Medigo, a service to provide rides to seniors to medical appointments and other obligations, first through private rides provided by volunteers, then through a system of vans and buses. On an average day, this service provides rides to 40 people. In 1998, Jo was named Troy’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year.
Jo served as a hospice volunteer for many years at Troy Beaumont Hospital and learned how to provide spiritual comfort to patients and their families.
She was also very involved her parish, St. Anastasia in Troy, as a lector, catechist, and Eucharistic Minister, and in Christian service and pastoral care. She was instrumental in forming several parish groups that reached out to those who were grieving, who had a family member in the hospital, or who were homeless. In her 2001 Annals, Jo wrote that she had been involved in 52 community action groups and parish ministries. She had an attraction to all peace and justice activities.
Jo was most of all a dedicated wife and mother. Married for more than 50 years, she and Jerry raised three children: Mark, Kevin and Lisa. She provided care for her mother-in-law, her mother, and her husband. Jo and Jerry were blessed with three grandchildren: Allison, Erin and Alexander. After Jerry died, Jo continued to reach out to others in need.
As a teen, Jo had felt called to religious life, but her grandmother talked her out of it. Many years later, when Jo learned of Associate Life, she was eager to make a commitment to the Adrian Dominican Sisters as an Associate. In her application, Jo wrote, “I wish to be an Associate because as I read the Mission Statement it expressed the way I can expand my prayer life and my womanhood to the service of my beloved God and to my community, family, and hopefully to my Dominican Family.” Jo was mentored by Sister Mary Katherine Allberry and celebrated her Ritual of Acceptance in May 2000.
Jo participated in the Peacemakers Mission Group and was a Representative of Associate Life (RAL) for several years. She remained engaged in the Mission and kept reaching out to others in need until her own health declined. The last few years of her life included the heartbreak of memory loss.
Jo died peacefully on June 19, 2018. Her funeral Mass was attended by her parish family, her own family, community members, and Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates. She lived a life of passion and service to others. May she now rest in peace.
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