A Memorial for Jo Reynolds

A memorial service for Jo Reynolds was held at St. Paul’s United Methodist church in Houston, Texas on April 18, 2008. The following was written by some of her children.

Joanne Lois Tancre Reynolds was a long time resident of McAllen, Texas, beginning in 1949 when she moved with her family from Ohio. After graduating from McAllen High School, she went on to major in Agriculture at Texas Tech in Lubbock and was the only female in the class. While at Tech, Jo married Gene Reynolds, a McAllen native, and settled in McAllen when Gene graduated from Tech.

Jo raised ten children, milked the cow, removed wayward calves from the canal, and took care of the farm while Gene was traveling for Reynolds Research, yet was able to make time to write poetry, refinish antique furniture, crochet, paint, read voraciously, take Spanish classes at the local college, and sing in the church choir. Over the years, Jo and Gene converted an Army barracks into a home, and Jo painted and decorated the inside and landscaped around the outside.

Even with a house full of her own kids she opened her house to everyone, welcoming friends of her children, exchange students, and rock-and-roll bands needing a place to practice. She loved music and art and painted with oils, made mosaics, created wall hangings from copper and aluminum foil, and bought rock and roll albums for her teenagers.

She was an amazing cook with the ability to prepare meals for a large crowd. One year she thought it would be fun to roast a pig in the ground Hawaiian-style, so she figured out how and made it happen for a family reunion, starting a tradition that went on for years.

Jo was a walking encyclopedia and knew the names for plants, bugs, birds, and stars. She used the time spent with her children to share her knowledge about these things; many an evening was spent lying on the grass gazing up at the sky teaching the names of stars, planets and constellations and pointing out satellites whizzing by. Knowledge was important to Jo and she allowed her children to learn by doing, never worrying about the mess made by young, inexperienced hands. At the same time she set a fine example while counseling to think positive thoughts and to believe in oneself.

After Gene’s death in 1974, Jo became active in community theatre, studied science and astronomy at Pan American University, and studied bugs through correspondence courses with University of Missouri. Jo moved to Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1999 and personalized an existing home on a bayou. In her desire to help the less fortunate, she volunteered to teach reading to illiterate adults. She also became a Master Gardener through the State Extension Service.

Jo lost her battle with recent health issues Sunday, April 13, 2008, at the age of 75. She died peacefully in her sleep at Laurie’s home, surrounded by family. Jo is survived by her brother, Robert Tancre; her sister, Bonnie Tancre; ten of her children, Laurie Reynolds, David Reynolds, Mark Reynolds, Jill Brammer, Amy Kelberlau, Lisa Glaser, Andrew Reynolds, Joy Reynolds, Gail Wurmstein, and Robert Reynolds; 21 grand children, and nine great grand children. Jo was predeceased by her husband Gene, their daughter Beth, and Jo’s sister Elaine York.
big family

St. Paul's Methodist Church

ten kids
Mark Jill   Robbie
  Gail David Andy Amy
Lisa Laurie     Joy


  • What a lovely tribute to your mom, Joy. May you be shrouded in comfort as you wait to see Jo again.

    Love and light-

  • Thank you for sharing the service with us, Joy. We so wanted to be there. What a wonderful job you’ve done with this. We hope and pray that God’s comforting arms will surround you and your family.
    We love you all.

  • Joy,

    How special your tribute about your mother. This gift you have made will be treasured memories and comfort for your family for years to come. You have given a very special act of love and kindness by sharing your mothers life, her gifts and accomplishments.

    She wasted no time here on earth, left much of herself for others to see through her loving children.

    She accomplished more than most and has passed on the on “torch of her light” for the Reynold’s children to carry proudly.

    With love
    Ralph and Valerie

  • To a wonderful sister:
    “Those we laughed with, learned from, leaned on and loved most leave us the ‘best’ memories.”

    Thanks Jo, for 66 years of the very ‘best’ memories.

    Love you always,

  • I remember the youth from St. Mark UMC in McAllen, gathering at the Reynolds home for swimming and afterglows. Or for Easter Sunrise service amongst the fruit trees behind the house. I remember asking Jo once “what she did” . . . and remembered all the things she named off. I remember our youth choir singing at Gene’s funeral. I remember good things about the Reynold’s family.

  • Dear Joy,

    Eloise sent me this link … I do want to send my deepest sympathy to you and all of your siblings, children, and their children.
    I am Jo’s cousin, Adele (Cookie Haberkorn/McHugh). This tribute brought back so many memories of my Mom, Olga, Aunt Anne, Aunt Steph, and Aunt Peg. Audrey, my sister, was the closest in age to Jo…You may have heard of her. She died at a young age of 34 due to cancer. Maybe they are hooking up on the other side.


  • My Aunt Cookie sent me this link. I am the daughter of Audrey Haberkorn/Kramer – Audrey was the oldest of Olga’s children. (Olga Goltscher/Haberkorn was Jo’s mother Anne’s sister). This would make Jo my second cousin in relation. I want to express my sincere sympathy for the loss of your mother, grandmother, great-grandmother & friend. I am truly sorry I never had the opportunity to meet Jo. I enjoyed reading about her life …what an amazing and incredibly accomplished woman she was! Best wishes to all, Connie