Jo Hoyle, our earthly angel, moved to her Heavenly Home on Saturday, October 19th. Jo was 63 years of age. A native of Jackson County, Jo was born on June 28th, 1956 to Amy Beasley Hoyle and the Late Alvin Hoyle.
Jo is survived by her Mother, Amy and two sisters, Sheila Hoyle and Katie Hoyle. Jo is also survived by many cousins and special friends, and especially her friends; Beverly Carnes, Nicky Passarello, Myra Goodwin, Kathy Ann Ensley and Terry Meadows.
Jo is preceded in death by her Father, Alvin Hoyle; Maternal Grandparents, Fred and Minnie Beasley; Paternal Grandparents Baxter and Fannie Hoyle; and numerous Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.
Jo attended East Sylva Baptist Church. She enjoyed her Sunday School Classes and the many friends she grew up with in her home church. Jo was included in every part of her church and we remember and appreciate, with joy and respect, women like Velma Plemmons, who always asked Jo to pray and read, outloud, her Bible Verses.
Jo was “special” in many ways. Her disabilities, both mental and physical paved a way for her life journey. Jo was educated in the Jackson County Public Schools, an educational program that Jo and her family helped bring to all families with children with special needs. When Jo was nine years old, 1965, and no school classes were open to her, her parents and other parents worked with the schools to make education available. We remember Mrs. Jamison and Mrs. Thomas and the first classroom, in the basement and across from the boiler room, in the old Sylva Elementary School. Thank you Jo, for helping to open this first door and just look at the progress and the opportunities that are available for young children with special needs today. 54 years of progress, what an amazing accomplishment and Jo helped !
Jackson County was a good place to live. Smoky Mountain Mental Health Center, about 1984, wanted to create a small group home for developmentally disabled adults in WNC and Jo was called on again to pave the way. After much discussion and conversation it was agreed that Jo would be one of 5 young adults to “pilot” community group homes, a new kind of community service. This life venture for Jo, proved to be very successful and Jo spent the next 35 years living in this setting. Accolades to the staff of Smoky Mountain Mental Health and later to Macon Citizens Habilities who provided excellent services and a wonderful life in Jackson County.
Many doors opened in Jackson County and indeed, across North Carolina and the Nation, as the first children and adults with special needs paved the way which eventually led to the November 29, 1975 signing into law, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142), now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). While we love the Jo we knew, who loved balloons, fingernail polish and McDonald’s we will remember her as a “trailblazer” for the young children and adults who now have access to services and a better quality of life.
Funeral Services will be held at 2:00 pm Thursday October 24, 2019 in the Chapel of Appalachian Funeral Services with the Revs. Reed Benson and Charles Dean officiating. The family will be receiving friends from 12:00 until 2:00 pm Thursday prior to the Service at the Funeral Home.
Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery
Flowers are welcome; memorial donations may be made to East Sylva Baptist Church at 21 Faith Avenue, Sylva, NC 28779.