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Mary Jo Rippstein Potter

March 9, 1937 - November 28, 2019

Visitation: 3 – 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 4, 2019 at Thompson’s Harveson & Cole.

Graveside Service: 2 p.m. Thursday, December 5, 2019 at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Memorials: Gifts in her memory may be made to the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, 909 W. Shaw Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76110.

Mary Jo Rippstein Potter died Thursday, November 28, 2019.

Mary Jo Rippstein was born in San Antonio on March 9, 1937 to Joseph W. and Mary Lee Rippstein.  She attended San Antonio school, graduating from Harlandale High School in 1955.  That year she met her future husband, Jerome (Jerry) Potter.  They were married at Lackland Air Force Base on June 16, 1956.  Her life became an adventure as she spent the next 26 years traveling all over the United States and on to Germany.  Finally settling in “retirement” in Fort Worth in 1985, she continued to be the focus for any/all family successes/problems.

Between giving birth to, and raising, five children in constantly changing environments and challenges, Mary Jo was always a ready volunteer for her husband’s and children’s hobbies/ pursuits while growing up.  The children and Jerry considered her their “rock of safety” when things got rough for any of them.  She volunteered at church, school, boy/girl scout events while still being “Mom”.  When her grandson was diagnosed with deafness and autism, she attended sign language classes and worked as a volunteer for many years with deaf children at Waverly Park Elementary School in Fort Worth.

One of her life’s highlights was the family’s three year tour in Germany.  There she made contact with and met a woman from Wolfsburg, Hannelore, that had been her pen pal since junior high school  They had written to each other for over 25 years and now met.  Jo and Jerry, with their two teenagers, enjoyed a real German Christmas at the home in Wolfsburg, including a formal tea with Hannelore’s parents.  For the next few years, the families visited each other on holidays and vacations.  Quite an adventure with many memories.

Of course, Jo took some conversational German courses but she did do better with sign language.  She was the source of many laughs among the shop keepers and her German friends.  To try a new hobby she joined an art class on base.   She told the teacher she couldn’t draw a straight line and only joined the class to be with some friends and to have a beer over lunch.  No one knows if it was the teacher or the beer, or both, but Jo became an accomplished oil painter.  Over the next 20 years, she accomplished a number of excellent paintings that enhance her home and those of her children.  She also sold and donated some of her art.

As she approached age 65, symptoms developed that were diagnosed as Multiple Sclerosis.  Both she and Jerry sought any/all medical assistance but the insidious disease progressed causing more  and more physical limitation which finally resulted in the need for 24/7 care in a nursing home.  After an initial period of depression, she started to integrate into the many functions for the home’s residents.  Soon she was involved in the many activities, including volunteering to teach a crochet class, and resuming her oil painting.

During her whole life, Jo was able to cope with the many problems and adversity that come with being a military wife, raising five children, and supporting her husband of nearly 60 years, who preceded her in death.  She was always there when anyone needed her, encouraging and supporting efforts toward everyone’s happiness.  One of the great compliments given her was from the staff at the nursing home who referred to her as their new “Angel”.  How true; her husband, Jerry, and the rest of the Potter family had known that for years.  She will be missed but never forgotten.  God speed and thanks for everything “Queenie”, Mom, Grandma, Friend.

She is survived by her children, Teresa M. Schoch and husband, Dennis, Mary E. Ostman, David J. Potter, William G. Potter and wife, Shelly; eight grandchildren; two great grandchildren; brother, Kenneth Rippstein and wife, Dianna.