Jo Ann Molk
- Published: February 11, 2010
Jo Ann Molk of Yellow Springs died Monday, Feb. 1. She was 79.
Jo Ann, the only child of Clyde and Helen (Oswalt) Griffiths, was born Dec. 23, 1930 in Akron. She graduated from Upper Arlington in Columbus in 1949 and attended Ohio Wesleyan, where she met her first husband, William Moser, and had her first child, David Turner. They divorced and, while attending Ohio State, she married Ted Turner and had three children, Stephen, Ted and Petrea.
She was an energetic and creative woman born in a time when such people were kept from expressing themselves, but her spirit was irrepressible and she broke out of socially- and self-imposed restrictions in her 40s. She met and married the true love of her life, Ashley Molk, in the early ’70s and they moved to California. After he retired, they moved to Oregon. A few years after Ashley’s death in 1993, she moved to Yellow Springs. She loved her dogs and was often seen walking her Welsh Corgi friends Molly and then Mandy. She was never afraid to start a conversation or ask about a hat or clothes someone was wearing.
Ashley was an avid bicyclist and they often rode the TOSRV bike ride from Columbus to Portsmouth and back. In 1992, when Jo Ann was 62, she and Ashley rode their bicycles from Oregon to Boston. She became a member of the YS Bicycle Committee after moving to the village.
She earned a degree in home economics from OSU in 1955 and used it all her life. She was a wonderful cook and baker, learned Chinese cooking and frequently modified and created recipes to suit her taste. Things didn’t always work, but she didn’t stop trying until she was satisfied. Once, when her children craved doughnuts, she said she could make better ones than the store. She regretted her statement when she discovered the cost of a thermometer and the time it took to make doughnuts, but made them anyway.
Jo Ann was also creative when sewing and knitting, and eventually taught herself to weave. She designed and made backpacks, purses, shirts, costumes, hats, sweaters, scarves, shawls and more. She belonged to local weaving and knitting guilds, and worked with organizations that displayed and demonstrated weaving wherever she was, including Yellow Springs. She went to schools to demonstrate and teach as well. She responded to the times or to people’s needs as she discovered them. During the Clinton impeachment hearings, she made a five-foot circular quilt she called her “Impeachment Quilt.” Soon after arriving here, she made several boxes of dress-up clothes for the Children’s Center. She designed and made hats to sell to raise money for people in Darfur, Sudan. She did not just use materials others created, but made them herself. She spun yarn from her dog’s fur or raw wool, made dyes for it, designed and then wove or knitted things using the yarn.
In the last years of her life, Jo Ann suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately, she saw for herself a future she refused to live. She took control of her situation, as she had many other times in her life, and chose her own path on Feb. 1.
She is survived by sons David Turner of Yellow Springs and Ted Turner of Baltimore, Ohio, and daughter Petrea of Granville; grandchildren Elizabeth, Andrew, Brittany, Nathan, Alex, Will, Emily and Allison; and many friends in California, Oregon and Yellow Springs. She was a member of the YS Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.