Unsung Hero #17

If you’ve been in Westport for any length of time, you’ve probably heard — and met — Jo Fuchs Luscombe.

She’s been involved in every aspect of life here — politics, education, community service. If it needs doing, Jo has done it.

But how many people know her back story?

A Dallas native, she was just a year old when her father — an oilman — moved the family to Venezuela. Jo grew up speaking Spanish — and gaining an important, real-world view of life.

She went to boarding school and college in Texas, headed to Katherine Gibbs secretarial school, got married at 19 and had a child at 20.

Jo Fuchs Luscombe

Her husband was in oil too, so they headed to Libya. Jo learned Italian there, and was once more immersed in a very different culture.

In 1969, the family moved back to the US. Her boys were 13 and 10.

In her mid-30s, Jo and her husband divorced. Encouraged by Rev. Dana Forrest Kennedy, she threw herself into every aspect Christ & Holy Trinity Church. She became president of the Women’s Guild, served on the vestry, and ran fundraisers.

She got interested too in the Westport Historical Society. Jo was a driving force behind the acquisition and restoration of Wheeler House — owned at the time by her church — as the organization’s headquarters.

In 1980, Jo was asked to fill out an unexpired term on the Zoning Board of Appeals. Public speaking did not come easily. But — as with everything else in her life — she worked to master it.

She won a full term on her own, then was appointed to the vacant post of 3rd selectman.

In 1986, Jo headed up her friend and fellow Westporter Julie Belaga’s campaign for governor.

Jo’s next step was the state House of Representatives. She served 5 terms — from 1987 to ’97 — and rose to Republican minority whip.

Retirement from state politics did not slow her down. As a member of Westport’s School Building Committee, she helped oversee 5 major construction and renovation projects (including the new Staples High School).

Jo Fuchs Luscombe (Photo courtesy of Westport Woman’s Club)

Remarriage did not slow her down either. Jo has been president of the Westport Woman’s Club (where she helped run major events like the art show), and is active in Westport Rotary, Greens Farms Garden club, and countless others.

As a longtime Westport Family YMCA board member, she helped shepherd the new building on its long, torturous journey from downtown to Mahackeno.

Her husband John says there is one reason she accomplishes so much: “She doesn’t sleep.”

There’s one more thing: Jo Fuchs Luscombe is one of the nicest, most always-smiling people you’ll ever meet.

Congratulations, Jo. And thanks from all of us, for all you’ve done in so many ways.

(Hat tip: Bobbie Herman)

28 responses to “Unsung Hero #17

  1. Maria Funicello

    Great lady!

  2. What a wonderful woman!

  3. Sylvia Robinson Corrigan

    Hear, hear, Jo – a toast to you, – and thanks for all you have done and continue to do!

  4. Jo is amazing!!!

  5. A real class act.

  6. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Jo is the best there is!

  7. Jo Fuchs Luscombe is such a terrific woman, helping out and giving of her time to so many organizations and good causes. Her only problem is she doesn’t know how to say “no” when someone says, “let’s ask Jo to lead this initiative, project, program etc. Jo is like the “energizer bunny” always moving, always doing. God bless you Jo for all you do for Westport and others. Keep up the good work

    Dewey and Susan Loselle

  8. We are so very lucky to have Jo in Westport. She is smart, invested, generous, and simply lovely on top of it. At CLASP I have gotten to know Jo very well. She has been involved on many committees to assist us with fundraising. We wouldn’t be who we are today with out her support! xo Tracy Flood, President, CLASP

  9. I don’t think I’ve ever joined a committee that didn’t include Jo! She’s EVERYWHERE!!!! Great job Jo!

  10. Jill Nash von Schmidt

    Mrs. Fuchs Luscombe is a lovely lady. She was my Sunday school teacher years ago. She was always ready with a smile & a hug whenever I would see her. She always makes others feel welcome & loved. Truly she is a special lady! 😊💜

  11. Jo-you are an amazing person and honored to call you a friend.


  12. Steven Halstead

    Jo continues to be a blessing for Westport. She always has credibility, and a helpful and forward-looking view of what is best for Westport She is always listening, knows how to get things done and has endurance. She is always gracious and delightful.
    I speak from many years of working with Jo when she Chair of the Westport School Building Committee. During the period from the mid 90s to now, the school population almost doubled. Jo’s efforts were pivotal in bringing the Wesport School District from a world where old, depreciated and beyond capacity school buildings were inhibiting Westport’s teachers from delivering the quality educational experience to a world where new school buildings enable the delivery of the quality educational experience that Westporters expect. You will see Jo’s name prominently displayed on the plaques at five of Westport’s eight schools.
    Jo, thank you.

  13. Jo is a “wonder woman”!!!! She is caring and always (with a warm smile!), willing to lend a helping hand. All who know her (and most residents of our town do!), will attest to her vitality and enthusiasm…Keep up the good work, Jo!!

  14. Michael Calise

    An exceptional choice Jo is one of Westport’s greatest assets!

  15. It’s quite true – even during times of disagreement, “Jo Fuchs Luscombe is one of the nicest, most always-smiling people you’ll ever meet.” And I have no idea where she gets her boundless energy from.

  16. Jo is truly a lovely smart and kind lady. I’m so glad to know her!

  17. Dan: Important for your readers also to know that Jo has been an important
    and influential member of the town-appointed Commission on Senior
    Services. She has rendered invaluable advice, and given time and energy which have been in short supply given her many current commitments. She
    has more connections than the phone company! Our Commission’s mission is to listen to and advocate for the concerns of seniors and to support the
    remarkable work of the Center for Senior Services. We also communicate with community leaders about the quality
    of life for our older citizens. Personally, Jo has been supportive of the Commission in general and specifically of me, as Chair of the Commission
    on Senior Services for which I remain most grateful. With profound thanks
    to one of the crown jewels of the Town of Westport.
    Bob Fatherley

  18. I adore Jo!! She’s not only a consummate Westporter, giving tirelessly to all the causes you enumerate, but she’s also the best neighbor anyone could ever have. 🙂

  19. Jo is a treasure. Always there, always gives great advice, and always does it with grace and a smile. No one deserves the unsung hero designation more than Jo. Go girl!

  20. Elizabeth Petrie-DeVoll

    Jo is one of my personal favorite people!
    On top of all her accomplishments, she and her adorable husband John
    have run the hospitality parties for openings at the Historical Society for years. Jo runs the kitchen, and John serves the wine! They are some of the most humble, smart and kind couples I know! Proud to be their friend.

  21. Very well deserved Nomination FELICIDADES SRA FUCHS

  22. Beverly W. McArthur

    One brilliant women who wears many hats and wears them all equally well. I am blessed to have the good fortune of calling her my friend.

  23. It is a privilege to call Jo a friend. She has more energy and has contributed more to the Westport community than ten people put together. A true gem and we all are lucky to benefited from her many years of work!

  24. Loretta Santella Hallock

    Lovely lady. Always a smile and a hello.
    One of Westport’s treasures.

  25. My first reaction to Jo was a bit defensive… “wait a minute, how can anyone possibly be that nice?” Easy answer…She is a truly wonderful and kind person. Great choice!

  26. Jo is Wonder Woman

  27. Janis Wasserman

    Great choice. Jo is one of the very special people.

  28. I was so lucky to have met Jo many years ago when we moved toWestport .She became a member of my family and was loved by all