Jo Ellen Heller, born on June 15, 1934 in Piedmont, S.C., passed peacefully at her home in Fernandina Beach surrounded by family. She was 85 years old.
Jo was devoted to her family; a Navy wife who accompanied her husband to duty stations around the United States and Puerto Rico. After raising her children and settling in Fernandina Beach, she became a mental health advocate and activist, working tirelessly to help pass legislation for self-directed care in Florida. Jo was a founding member of NAMI of Nassau County (National Alliance of Mental Illness). A respite house in Fernandina was named in her honor, “The Jo Heller House.”
She leaves behind her husband of 69 years, James Theron Heller; her son, Michael S. Heller and his wife, Deretha; son, James D. Heller and daughter, Cynthia Heller Pennington; daughter, Andrea L. Heller (deceased); her grandchildren, Micah S. Heller and his wife, Danielle; Megan S. Langan and her husband, Josh; Nathan G. Pennington, Ashley J. Pennington and six beautiful great grandchildren of whom she was inordinately proud, as well as several great grand dogs and cats.
Please join us in a celebration of Jo’s life on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 11:00 AM at The Outreach Center, Journey Church, 95707 Amelia Concourse, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to NAMI Nassau County, Florida.