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Jo Frances Stow

Obituary for Jo Frances Stow

October 27, 1927 - February 9, 2021
Galloway, New Jersey | Age 93


Jo Frances McDonnell Stow (nee Christian) It is with deep regret and sadness that the family of Dr. Jo Frances Stow announces that Jo left pain and COVID-19 behind to feel the loving embrace of her beloved mother once again on February 9, 2021. The world has lost a truly extraordinary, brilliant, and honorable woman with her passing. Jo Frances dedicated her life to improving the quality of life for so many people through her passion for public health, the medical profession, education, military veterans, and for simply helping wherever or whenever she saw the need. She remained active in many areas of volunteerism until just a few years ago. Jo Frances was well known for making sure things were done the right way. She and her husband Col. Ken Stow knew no bounds to their energy, drive, and their extraordinary philanthropy. Nonetheless, Jo Frances retained her humility throughout her life, even as she gave so much of herself to others.
Jo Frances was born on October 27, 1927 in Philadelphia and graduated from the Episcopal Hospital School of Nursing in 1948 as a Registered Nurse. In 1948, she was commissioned in the US Navy Nurse Corp. Her tours of duty included assignments at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, USS Butner and Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Oakland, CA. In 1951, Jo Frances moved to the Panama Canal Zone. She worked for the Division of Preventative Medicine for 15 years, serving as Atlantic Side Public Health Nursing Director. During that time, she married Bernard J. McDonnell, a Federal Police Officer. He passed away in 1970. While living in the Canal Zone, Jo Frances earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Master's Degree in Public Health & Nursing Administration (a degree that was new at the time) at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Jo Frances returned to New Jersey after spending a year teaching Public Health at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. She was employed as Director of Public Health Nursing for Atlantic County and later held the same position at Cape May Health Department.
In 1977, Jo Frances accepted a position as a faculty member of the Public Health program at Stockton College. That same year, she married Kenneth Stow, a retired Air Force Colonel who was instrumental in founding Stockton. She became a member of the Stockton Foundation Board and chaired the Scholarship Selection Committee. In 1995, Jo Frances and Ken received Honorary Doctorate degrees from Stockton, in recognition of their commitment and valuable contributions to the college. She personally established three scholarships at Stockton University. Jo Frances retired in 1988, and received Professor Emeritus status in 2016. In 2018 Stockton University honored her by naming the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs in her name.
After the death of her husband, Ken, in 2006, Jo Frances formed a strong bond of love and friendship with her cousin, Charles Smith. Jo Frances' family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at Seashore Gardens Living Center, her home for the past three years, for their wonderful care of Jo Frances. A special thank you to Heather, Lucy, George and Michelle. We are also so grateful for the staff of Five Harmony and AtlantiCare Hospice at Atlantic City Medical Center, City Division for their superb and compassionate care of Jo Frances during this extremely difficult time. She is survived by her cousin Charles, his wife, Lisa, their children and grandchildren, her cousin, Loretta Zagiel, whom Jo loved as a sister, Loretta's family, her cousin Warren Hepp, her cousin John Hepp, his wife Joan and their family, and her cousin, John Brennen.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no funeral service, and burial will be private. The family is planning to hold a Celebration of Life Ceremony once the pandemic has subsided. If anyone would like to honor Jo Frances, you may do so by making a donation in her memory to the Frances N. Christian Memorial Scholarship Foundation for nursing students at Stockton University (101 Vera King Farris Drive, Suite 204a, Galloway, NJ 08205). To share your fondest memory of Jo Frances please visit
Family services by Jeffries and Keates Funeral home, Northfield.

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