Josephine "Jo" Ann Widrick, age 66 of Franklin, TN, formerly of Binghamton, NY, laid aside her earthly tent (died) on August 20, 2023, at 7:24 pm. She was born in Cortland, NY, to the late Daniel D. Sr. and Phyllis Kline Maxfield.
Jo was an incredibly gifted businesswoman who worked her way up in management at Thom McCann and Endicott Johnson Shoe Stores, and won a Pontiac Grand-Am as a direct sales consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics.
Jo married Randy J. Widrick on July 18, 1980. In 1982, Shortly after their son John was born, they made the joint decision that she would stay home to raise their children, even if it meant putting their financial goals on hold for several years.
Having had a difficult childhood, Jo and Randy focused on their ardent commitment to follow Christ and break the cycle of past challenges, helping others to do the same. Jo loved spending time with her siblings, traveling, designing rooms in her house, reading her Bible, and praying. In her diverse roles as a career woman, baker, Lifestyle Educator, youth worker, camp counselor, kinesiologist, coach, and teacher, her primary aim was to lead people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. She was a licensed minister in the Free Methodist Church and she and Randy served in churches in Cortland, NY, Colorado Springs CO, Phoenix AZ, and Binghamton NY.
In April of 2022, Jo was diagnosed with a cancerous colorectal tumor. She and Randy devoted all their resources to finding a cure. Guided by faith in God’s leadership, they sold their NY home and possessions, and moved to Tennessee. Continuing with God’s direction, they pursued various medical treatments, ranging from nutritional and dietary approaches to Proton Therapy, acupuncture, lymphatic therapy, chiropractic care, and therapeutic massage. Doctors gave her only a few months to live, but her strong bond with Christ, daily Bible study, and a plethora of faithful praying family and friends nationwide sustained her for nearly 18 months. Due to the tumor's location, Jo spent most of the 18-month period lying on her side, requiring travel in the back seat of the car, unable to drive, yet never complaining. She always became the favorite patient in the hospital, with a smile on her face, encouraging the nurses, apologizing for them having to work on her, again, without complaint. Randy stayed with her most of the 40-plus nights in the hospital, being relieved by Bethany as she was able.
Jo was intensely devoted to her children, John and Bethany, and uniquely known to her grandchildren as "Towie" – a name her young grandson Ben gave when Jo held up a towel to dry him from a hotel swimming pool. Thinking she was telling him her name, Grandma Jo became “TOWIE” which was lovingly embraced by all three grandkids.
Jo is survived by her husband of 43 years, Randy J. Widrick; son, John (Rachel) Widrick; daughter, Bethany Cruz; brothers, Daniel, Jr. (Sue Ellen) Maxfield and Christopher (Beatrice) Maxfield; sisters, Brenda (Kevin) Irving, Annette (Larry) Gathmann, and Marcia (David) Hicks; and grandchildren, Benjamin, Brooklyn, and Judah Widrick.
A celebration service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, September 9, 2023, at Grace Church, 1097 Murfreesboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37064. Visitors will be received one hour before the service. Pastor Larry Day will officiate, and burial will follow at Williamson Memorial Gardens. Memorials can be made to The Bridge House at www.thebridgehousetn.org (http://www.thebridgehousetn.org/) or to Bethany Cruz album release at Venmo: @Bethany-Cruz or Cashapp: $BethanyCruz
Sincere appreciation is extended to the many friends, medical providers, and family who helped Jo complete her earthly journey: Grace Church Technical team for the live worship feed, Larry Day and Lynette Habegger, the tremendous ER and nursing staff of St. Thomas Rutherford, Williamson Medical Center, Centennial Hospital, Proton Therapy Clinic, Vanderbilt Cancer Center, Tennessee Oncology, The Dearing Clinic, the loving team at the Juice Bar- Carothers, Amedisys Home Health Care, CARIS and ACCENT Hospice, Walgreen’s Prescription Team, Mind and Body medical center, Ralph Johnson, Dr. Howard and Ashley at TrueLife.com, her faithful PCP Brenda Rackhorn; and Physical Therapist Kim who tirelessly continued PT until the very end. Also, many thanks to Helen Smallbone and Rebecca St. James for allowing the use of the TrueRife machine, and brothers and sisters in Christ who tirelessly prayed for Jo and Randy, visiting weekly to pray, sing and worship, encouraging Jo in her fight. A very special thank you to Tedd Tjornhom, and Hunter and Honor Tjornhom for helping the family in every way they were needed, to prayer teams all over the US with whom Bethany and Randy constantly updated. “Thank you”does not begin to express our gratitude for all you have done.
By Jo’s life and by her death, all the glory goes to her Lord Jesus Christ. It was a long, hard, and painful battle with many ups and downs, coming close to death several times and miraculously recovering to fight on, to the amazement of the medical teams. She died a peaceful death with Randy at her side, singing her favorite worship songs and thanking her for a good and wonderful 43 years of marriage. In the words of King David, “She will not come to me, but in Christ I will go to her.” Thank you, Jo, for allowing us to see Christ in you, the hope of glory.