Jo Nell Smelker
Jo Nell Smelker
  • September 25, 1934 - February 5, 2016
  • Kaufman, Texas

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The bingo halls of Heaven have welcomed in a new winner, Jo Nell (Sloan) Smelker. She passed away at the age of 81 on February 5, 2016 in Kaufman, TX. Jo Nell was born on September 25, 1934 to William Kelsey and Winnie (Brewer) Sloan in Grays Prairie, TX.

Jo Nell was raised in the Grays Prairie and Scurry areas before making her home in Kaufman, TX. She worked all of her life, in and around the courthouse, at title companies, Adams Construction and finally settling in at the Kaufman County Appraisal District where she retired from in 2002. Upon retirement, she took several vacations with her sister Mott and her husband, Gene and together they never met a bingo hall they didn’t like. She was a devout “42” player, where she knew your hand better than you did and a faithful, loyal Dallas Cowboy’s fan until the end. Jo Nell loved the Cowboy’s, the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Mavericks…and if they weren’t on, she’d settle for college teams, as long as they were from Texas. She was an accomplished piano player and could play any song by ear, often playing Boogie Woogie when her kids would beg her to and she also played at church on Sundays for years at Trinity Baptist Church. Jo Nell was a member of Victory Church in Scurry and a devoted Christian. She was also an accomplished seamstress and made her children’s clothing (their Barbie’s and dolls also had matching outfits) and her own clothes as well. Jo Nell loved to collect cookbooks, but she sure didn’t want to put them to use. Her family was her greatest pleasure in life and she loved them unconditionally, always putting their needs before her own.

Preceding her in death are her parents William and Winnie Sloan, husband Thomas Smelker, siblings Kelsey Sloan, Calvin Sloan and Martha Metcalf Garrett, brothers-in-law Don Metcalf, Gene Garrett, JR Christian and Leonard Webb.

Those left to cherish her memory are her children: Brad Johansen and wife Molly, Jill Johansen and Gaye Smelker Ellsworth; grandchildren: Jodie (Johansen) and Paul Andrews, Thomas and Nikki Ellsworth, Chase Johansen, Carly Ellsworth, Brady Raymond and Cori Raymond; great-grandchildren: Lily Ellsworth, Jake Andrews, Jemma and Kaylie Ellsworth, Bradley Raymond and Cameron and Chelsea Halvorson; sisters: Betty Christian and Dortha Lee Webb; many nieces, nephews and friends that will miss her dearly.

The family would like to extend a grateful thanks to Dawn, Vanessa , Angela, Kia and the Sunflower Park team . They told us every day that they “loved her smile” which was always very comforting to us, knowing that the people taking care of her loved her as much as she loved them. We are also thankful to Spring, Tina and the Hospice Plus team for taking care of her for months at her home, where they also showed the same abundant love to her.

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