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.
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).
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)