December 3, 1925 - February 11, 2021
Joanna Lou Blankenship Massey, Branford, CT, formerly of Carefree, AZ and Cushing, OK, passed away, peacefully, at home on February 11, 2021.
She was born December 3, 1925, in Bridgeport, OK, to Burnest and Lois Ann Blankenship. When she was 13 years old, W.T. Budd Massey bought her a hot dog and walked her home. The rest is history, and so began the makings of a wonderful life.
Budd and Jo were married September 10, 1944, and devoted the next few years to service to their country. Joanna worked at Tinker Air Force Base and, later, taught at Hill’s Business University, while Budd completed his education at University of Oklahoma. When Budd began his long and illustrious career in the oil and gas industry, the couple made their home in Cushing, Oklahoma. There, they raised son Joseph Kent, and daughter Melanie. The Masseys were a vital part of that community for many years. Jo was not only Budd’s support system in what became a successful independent production company, but served in many capacities with the First Methodist Church, Parent Teachers’ Associations, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and other philanthropical and political posts. Meantime, she managed to squeeze in Oklahoma State University, as well as cheering on her children’s endeavors and addressing current issues.
In 1974, Budd and Jo began dividing their time between Oklahoma City and, joyfully, Carefree, Arizona. Their lives were full of teeing it up, cutting the rug and entertaining. Their community advocacy continued, and they were avid members of Desert Forest Golf Club and Desert Mountain, while still “going to the office”, at 34 Easy Street. They were always quick to open their home, and delighted in sharing the beautiful sunsets, the cherished desert and their companionship with friends and family.
Joanna relished her role as grandmother, always providing encouragement, mentoring, correcting grammar, participating in wicked bouts of games, and instilling a passion for righting wrongs. She embraced each child as the individuals they are, and was rewarded by their adoration of their “Grandjo, Granny, Grandest”. Her delight in them was enormous, though she tried, unsuccessfully, not to boast of the joy they brought her.
After Budd’s death in 1989, Jo began spending summers in Branford, CT, and, eventually, made that her home. She remained passionate about the beauty of the nature around her, and developed a deep appreciation for the coastal community and its inhabitants. She continued seeking knowledge, be it learning a new word every day, delving into an unknown subject or sharing the advancements of the modern world with the children who were lucky enough to be graced with her matriarchy.
Joanna is survived by son Joseph Kent Massey (Leah), Bisbee, AZ, daughter Melanie Cameron (Brian), Branford, CT, grandchildren Dua (Michael) Anderson, Sacramento, CA, Elisa (Mamadou) Cameron-Niang, New York City, Sheriden Massey, Kneeland, CA, Calla Jo Cameron, Washington, DC, Doug (Ally) Cameron, Old Lyme, Jennifer (Michael) Cameron, Denver, Patrick (Katrina) Cameron, Asheville. JoJo’s “greats” continue the legacy: Taylor, Nicholas, Connor, Millie Lou, Adeline and River. No doubt, she will be overseeing the arrival of those about to be born.
She leaves behind sister Gayle (Lee) Bullock, OKC, sisters in law Esther Blankenship, Titusville, FL, Amelia Andre, Norman, OK, Irene Blankenship, Modesto, CA and Beverly Blankenship, Yukon, OK. She also leaves behind her nieces and nephews whom she adored, and for whom she served as Communicator in Chief, remembering each one’s special events. She was committed to the preservation of family first, and loved sending and receiving emails keeping her clan connected, and remained proud of her title, “Aunt Jo”.
In addition to Budd, Jo was preceded in death by brothers Francis, Burnest “Bud”, Charles Ray, and sister in law Dolores Burns, brother in law Raysel Massey.
Joanna’s family is most grateful to Jo’s loyal caretaker and friend, Mitchell Voegelin, her assistant and partner in crime, Laurie Barbaro, and, especially, her caregivers, angels on earth, Marsha Angus and Agata Krochmal, both of whom she loved. Special appreciation to the superb staff of VNA Community Healthcare and Hospice of Guilford, whose guidance and support has been invaluable. In keeping with Jo’s wishes, in
In keeping with Jo’s wishes, interment will be private at Graceland Cemetery in Bridgeport, OK, where she will, finally, join her beloved Budd beside the amber waves of grain. Remembrances may be made by performing acts of kindness, singing songs, sharing blessings and books, and remembering, as she said just the other day, that the good you do goes with you, always.