Born in Oklahoma, Jo spent her early childhood years in Moore on the family homesteaded farm and in Stillwater. Her elementary and middle school years were spent with her mother and stepfather, Jack Cross, as an Army brat, including 18 months in Santa Fe where Jack worked at Los Alamos.
After World War II, the family moved to Denver where Jo attended South High School and met Dean. After attending college, Jo and Dean married in 1953. For the first 18 months of their marriage, Dean served in a MASH unit in South Korea. While Dean was in South Korea, Jo gave birth to their first daughter Susan. After Dean’s military service, he finished medical school in Omaha Nebraska, while Jo helped with his papers and welcomed their second daughter, Lisa. The family returned to Denver in 1957 and added two sons to the family, David, and Eric.
Jo collected American pewter, antiques and furniture. She admired modern art and painted in both oils and acrylics. Between the scores of books Jo read, she also designed and needlepointed Torah scrolls, wall hangings and pillows. Each grandchild has a baby quilt designed and completed all by hand with her hands. Jo always had a garden - touching the earth and growing flowers and plants brought her joy.
Jo enjoyed traveling internationally with Dean and racy times competing in Porsche rallies in Colorado. Along with Dean, she placed high importance on post-secondary education and supported their four children as each completed advanced degrees.
Jo had an eclectic collection of friends who also became family to her. Friendships stretched from high school to the Jewish community at Temple Sinai, and included her children’s friends and neighbors in the homes she shared with Dean for 65 years.
Taking words of wisdom from her grandmother, who was a suffragette, Jo never failed to vote and yearly reminded her children that her grandmother had taught her to, “Always vote and tell no one who you voted for”.
May her memory be a blessing to all that have known her love, determination and perseverance.
The wife of Dean Smernoff (z”l), Jo is survived by her children Susan (Barry), Lisa (Bill), David (Cindy) and Eric; and five grandchildren Samuel (Laura), Nika (Hani), Bryn (Jason), Nathan and Kayla.
Graveside service on Friday, January 7 at 10:30 AM at Mount Nebo Memorial Park – a livestream will be available from Shalom Funeral Service, https://bxcited.com/beverly-smernoff/ .
Shiva on Friday, January 7 at 2:00 PM – a livestream will be available from Temple Sinai.
Donations in memory of Jo Smernoff may be made to Temple Sinai
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
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