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On February 21, 2022, Jo-Lynne Worley, surrounded by loving family and friends, left this earth, succumbing to an aggressive, undetected infection that overwhelmed her immune system.
Jo-Lynne’s fearless fight to regain her active life after unrelenting orthopedic challenges, was in a word, inspiring. Having achieved her goal of walking 10,000 steps a day, it was easy to believe she was going to be with us quite a while longer. A force of nature, and much like the Rock of Gibraltar, Jo-Lynne was a guiding and inspiring figure in the lives of those fortunate to know her and to receive her unconditional love and support. With an unwavering confidence in her point of view, Jo-Lynne drew others to her. She was a shelter in the storm for many, a springboard of encouragement guiding so many friends, colleagues, and family members, to think positively about their lives, their hopes, their dreams.
Jo-Lynne started life in this world with her parents Dr. Jo (Josephine Ensley) and Dr. Williams Craig Worley on September 2, 1948. Her parents preceded her in death. Jo-Lynne is survived by her wife, partner, and companion, Joanie Shoemaker; her sister, Karen Evans, and many cousins; her first husband Peter C. Petersen (Sheri and Sean); her brother-in-law Phil Shoemaker (Caryl Goodyear); nephew Tanner Shoemaker (Krysten and Jrue); and loving friends who miss this remarkable and invincible friend.
Five years ago, Jo-Lynne and Joanie celebrated 40 years together with friends and family. They became life partners in 1976 and were married in Santa Fe, NM, in 2014.
Jo-Lynne graduated high school from The Barstow School and received a BA degree in Marine Biology from the University of the Pacific and continued her education through coursework from Berkeley and Stanford in CA, and the University of Kansas.
She built a career that included creativity, passion and supporting voices that matter. Beginning with managing the New Earth Bookstore in Kansas City with Joanie, she helped form a national and international women’s music network that gave voice to many talented women and linked them to a supportive and grateful audience. As CEO of Redwood Records in Northern California, she helped develop it into a multi-artist label. She traveled extensively, to most cities, states, and continents, with singer-songwriter Holly Near and author-psychologist Harriet Lerner. Upon relocating to Kansas City, in part to be near aging parents, Jo-Lynne and Joanie opened Worley Shoemaker Literary Management. Among the artists they managed, represented, launched, or accelerated in addition to Lerner, are Susie Bright, Jenny Kostecki-Shaw, Esther Perel, Brené Brown, Sandra Joseph, Diana Kander, Janine Shepherd, and Sue Katz.
Jo-Lynne’s life was filled with wonderful experiences fueled by her adventurous soul, generous spirit, and sharp intellect. She was an avid reader (member of two book groups), researcher, traveler, activist, a creative and versatile chef (altering recipes, always improving them), and a wine connoisseur with a wicked/dry sense of humor and robust laugh. Through her community of like-minded friends, Jo-Lynne actively contributed and supported a chorus of people whose lives she touched by challenging and encouraging them, often at the head of the table and holding court.
Since Jo-Lynne vanished from our sight, we have gathered to seek refuge in our shared memories, in our love and respect for such a remarkable woman.
She will be dearly missed and always remembered.
Jo-Lynne’s life will be celebrated in many ways, including a bonfire on April 9 and a connecting link to all parts of her life June 18. Ask for details: firstname.lastname@example.org. Attached is a video from a celebration on February 27 at our home.
Memorial donations can be sent to any of the organizations that were important to Jo-Lynne: The World Central Kitchen, KCUR-FM radio, Planned Parenthood, Doctors Without Borders, The Rose Garden at Loose Park, The Midwest Innocence Project, and the U.S. Forest Service Plant-A-Tree Program.