Note: Jo’s story was written down by another member of the congregation, and therefore is written in the third-person tense.
A SPIRIT OF HARMONY AND COOPERATION
Church was at the center of the family for both Jo and Jim, when they were growing up in Hutchinson, Kansas. Jim remembered his mother as “always at the church, doing something.” Prior to Jo’s birth, her father was a German Methodist minister, who spoke only in German to his congregation. So, it was natural that when the two met, at junior college, and married two years late, they would make their church an important part of their own family.
Both graduated from Kansas State University. Jim, an engineer, found work at John Deere, and the couple moved to Cedar Falls. They raised their three children in their home on Rainbow Drive. While the children were growing up, the Potters attended a Methodist church in Cedar Falls. In the late seventies, though, this congregation was split by controversy. The Potters, who valued harmony and cooperative relationships, reluctantly left this congregation and joined CHPC. It was to be a long, loving and productive relationship.
Jo was the youngest of four children. She was trained as a teacher, and enjoyed teaching in rural schools, early in her marriage. She says music has always been important to her and Jim. It’s clear, when visiting with her, that her first love is her family. Stability and a spirit of cooperation are values she and Jim shared from the beginning. They lived in their home on Rainbow Drive for 48 years. A scrapbook made by one of her daughters-in-law attests to the love in this home. This is not just a book of pictures of Jo and Jim and their family through the years. It also contains cards the Potters sent and received from their children and each other, and messages of devotion and appreciation from their children and grandchildren.
Jim passed away two years ago. When asked the “secret” of their long, loving relationship, Jo says simply, “we loved each other,” and “we enjoyed doing the same things.” After retirement, the couple travelled throughout the world. Jo says she is grateful for these memories. She is also grateful that they shared the same belief in cooperation and harmony, which is reflected in her daughter-in-law’s commemorative scrapbook.
Both the them were active throughout their years at CHPC. Jo especially enjoys her memories of participating in the choir. Jim was an elder, and chaired and participated in many committees, while Jo could always be counted on to help at Ice Cream Socials, funerals, and any number of women’s committees. Jo says Jim loved organization. He was a natural leader, who liked to know where a meeting or project was going, and got things done in an efficient, collaborative way. Jo says she thinks that spirit is what kept the couple at CHPC. She credits Rev. Bob Roof with setting the tone for the congregation, in that Rev. Roof, like Jim, valued efficiency and cooperation among members.
Many of us, who are a bit younger than them, have said that we aspire to be like them as we grow older. Their strong, loving relationship, sense of humor and adventure, and willingness to serve others, through their family, church and community, have been an inspiration to all of us who have been privileged to know them. Jo and Jim joined CHPC seeking a church community that shared their values of harmony and cooperation.