…My oldest sister at home with me growing up, Jo-Alice "The Drill Sergeant," has and will always have a very special place in my heart. Not only for the fact that she is my sister and single-handedly prepared me for the rigors of kindergarten by teaching me my ABCs, but she has truly done (and is doing!) much, much more…Jo-Alice, I am told, was a very skinny child growing up. The stories trickled down to me of her being teased, and I bet if you asked her, "tormented!" Oh, I heard all the stories of her imaginary friend "Henrietta" whom she talked to, played with, scolded, taught, and I guess thoroughly enjoyed.
In the early 60's our father would take us both to Chicago to see the Cubs and Sox play ball. Jo would teach me math as we kept the scores of the games and figured out the batting averages of the players… You know I never quite figured out why he brought her along though.

Jo was a cheerleader all throughout junior high and high school at Beckman and Roosevelt. She was also into modern dance and one of the editors on her high school newspaper. I really enjoyed all the high school basketball games she took me to as her guest…

Jo was always doing something, saying something, being something, and I always had my eyes on her and my young ears were always listening, waiting for that new truth, that new and different look at a culture I was being awakened to.

I remember the 2 weeks in June of 1969, before Jo's graduation from high school, the excitement and fun she and all her cronies were having. I dreaded the thought of losing my instructor, my entertainer, my friend to the clutches of those Boilermakers down there in Lafayette, Ind. It even came into my mind to quit school and leave with her. The prospect of 6 more years without my private, lovable tutor was almost unbearable. No longer would those tunes from "Mary Poppins," "The Wizard of Oz," and "Westside Story" be reverberating all around the walls of that small project house located at 2245 Carver St…. No more correcting of my English and grammar from the kitchen, bedroom or living room… And oh, let me not forget to mention the free admission into the Roosevelt Panthers basketball games… Yes, Jo-Alice was leaving and with her, a part of my heart.

Jo-Alice was a very attractive young girl, (that is, after she passed that Olive Oyl stage), and is to this day a very attractive woman, minister, wife, mother of 5 and young grandmother at 50. Jo has been one of my spiritual mentors from the time I entered the Oakland County Jail in October of 1991. When I needed a new start in life, who came and scraped me off the ground? Jo did… When I was 3000 miles away in an Alaskan county jail awaiting a very important, life-changing decision and in need of support, faith, and comfort, Jo was there. And who sent me a brand new $100 study Bible and encouraged me to use it, as it is being used this day, 10 years later? Jo did…

My sister Jo-Alice and I disagree often. We get mad, angry and upset with one another. But we also cry together, pray together, laugh together and believe God for my imminent release from this incarceration together. Jo has been an awesome presence in my life and I know that I am a better, much better man, father and minister of the most high and holy God because of my sister who cared. I love you Jo!!!