Jo Paoletti learned the basics about the UU faith from an elementary school friend – UU’s don’t believe that Jesus is God and John was drunk when he wrote the Book of Revelations. She didn’t revisit UUs again until 1982, when she was horrified at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camp massacres in Lebanon and wanted to be in a supportive religious space. UUCSS happened to be on one of her commutes and she decided to check us out. There were some immediate plusses, nursery care for her then five-month-old daughter Maria and being in tune with the words in our services. She had always had to mentally edit the Lutheran liturgy of her youth.
Jo has filled several significant roles with an unusual gap. She has been on the Board, taught literally every level of children and youth RE, and organized the Catoctin Retreat multiple times. She and (the now Rev.) Carol Cissel played hooky from a women’s retreat to watch the women’s NCAA basketball final and dreamed up the UUCSS “tasteful semi-nude calendar” fundraiser. This is an example of what she refers to as ad hockery, banding together over a good idea and pursuing it with enthusiasm. It also points out to what Jo hasn’t done, which is to serve on committees unless they are goal-oriented and time-bounded like Catoctin.
When asked for some last words Jo said, “I spent years deciding what type of tattoo I would get when I turned 60. The symbol I chose says it all. No other group of people has made me what I am today.”