She is survived by her children, David and Debbie Barrow, Ginger and Tracy Harman, Ken and Sheila Barrow, and Ellen and Ronnie Powers; her grandchildren, Ginni Harman Poole, Kate and Billy Harman, Joseph Barrow and Leslie Barrow Potier; her great-grandchildren, Anna Barrow and Evan Poole and her brother John B. Garner and her sisters-in-law, Julianne Garner and Mary Ed Garner.
She was predeceased by her brother James Lawson Garner.
The oldest of three children, Jo was born August 8, 1926, in Polk County, Ga. to John Bunyan and Ruth Lawson Garner. Her Dad was a World War I hero and her mother was a hero to anyone who ever met her. She and her brothers John and Jim lived in a rock house in the country where they swear their Mama created a little piece of heaven most every day. She attended Cedartown High School where she loved playing basketball though she stayed mad most her life because girls were only allowed to play half court. She attended West Georgia College where she reigned as May Queen, graduating in 1946. She married David T. Barrow and moved to Bowdon where, in addition to raising her own four children, she made Barrow House a welcoming refuge for extended family, friends, and the occasional stranger. You could find just about the whole town there after most Red Devil football games, win or lose. She was a kindergarten teacher, a shop owner and a clerk at Bowdon Hospital. She was a member Bowdon’s spectacular Blue Stocking Club and was named Woman of the Year in 1976 by the Bowdon Business and Professional Women’s Club.
Jo was a loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, a loyal friend, and an excellent horsewoman. She enjoyed spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, watching “Murder She Wrote”, and eating Pinwheel cookies. She and Nelva Roop could ride horses no one else could ride and did so over every dirt road in Carroll County. She rode mules into the Grand Canyon and galloped Arabian horses on the beaches of northern California. She despised housework and kept Barrow House “clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy.” She whistled better than anyone else you ever heard. She encouraged children to splash in mud puddles, eat dessert first, and to appreciate books. She told great ghost stories and knew most of the Dr. Seuss stories by heart.
There will be a celebration of the life and spirit of Mama Jo on Sunday, July 3, at 2 p.m. at the Bowdon Historical Society “Meeting Place” which is located behind the high school gym. The family asks that you write down your favorite Jo Barrow story/memory and either mail it to Ellen Powers, 2665 County Road 333, Roanoke, AL 36274, or bring it with you to the service and place it in the book that will be there. The family will stick around to eat cheese straws and drink lemonade afterward so please join us.
Her ashes will be interred at a later date in a private ceremony in the Garner plot at Shiloh Church Cemetery in Polk County with her Daddy. Instead of flowers, David, Ken, Ginger, and Ellen ask that you honor Mama Jo by making a donation to the Bowdon Area Historical Society (P.O. Box 112, Bowdon, GA 30108), loving one another, and remembering to splash in mud puddles (or if we don’t get any rain just turn on the water hose and run through it, that works too!).