In memory of Jo Stuart

Many readers reacted Friday and over the weekend to the death of Jo Stuart. A.M. Costa Rica’s Friday columnist. What follows is a commentary on her life because it shows that she touched so many.

I am deeply saddened today by the passing of my friend, Jo Stuart.   There will be a blank space in your publication as a result.  She was a fine, brave lady, and I will miss her keen insight and fearless walk through life.  I am privileged to participate in a group of writers to which Jo was a part.  Her empty chair will be hard to fill.

Hobbit Merritt
San Isidro de Alajuela


If I were to write an epitaph for Jo, it would be something she said to me a few years ago when her health was already failing.  I wasn’t doing so well myself, and Jo sensed I needed a little bucking up:  “If you don’t show up, nothing happens.”

I laughed.  It was another of those pithy one-liners that so often graced her columns.  But I took it seriously, too.  You have to get up, get dressed and go out and grasp life, even if you don’t feel like it, because life isn’t going to come to you.

But now, with her passing, it’s as if a light has gone out, and I realize just how much Jo’s “showing up” made life happen for those around her.  Her warmth, generosity, charm, ready wit and lively interest in the human condition would fill up any room she walked into, and we all felt the grace of her presence.

Towards the end, as ill as she was, she said she was grateful for every day she woke up.  That love of life is an inspiration . . . and surely the greatest part of her legacy.

Sandra Shaw


I am so sorry to read of the passing of Jo Stuart. Her musings and observations on Costa Rica, the world, and people in general reflected a lifetime of thoughtful, gentle confrontation with life as she found it, as well as compassion and humor for the human condition. I will miss reading her columns in your newspaper. I did not know her personally, although we corresponded by email a few times. I will miss this fellow sojourner and expatriate who loved Costa Rica even more than I do.

Rob Rowntree
Manuel Antonio


Her infectious smile and pointed writings will be missed. My hope is you continue to salute her perpetual efforts to make life better for others by an occasional re-printing of some of her articles. Pura vida and thank you, Ms Jo,

Skeeter Coleman
Grifo Alto de Puriscal


My condolences at the passing of Jo Stuart. Although I did not agree with her politically, you gave her the opportunity to express her opinions and offer another point of view. I’m sure her followers will miss her greatly.

Al Loria
New York, U.S.A.


Jo will be missed by many.   I was shocked reading the article this morning.  Things happen when you least expect them.   She added a very humanistic side to most of her articles.  Some may have disagreed, on her views, but I can say she was a warm-hearted individual.  There will be a void without her presence as she helped balance out a balanced newspaper that A.M. Costa Rica is.  I am sure she is in another place enjoying herself as she did during her stay here on earth.  My condolences to her son, daughter and family.  I met her son once and he reflected her very good nature.   She will be missed by many who enjoyed her writings.

Henry Kantrowitz
Punta Leona


It was with great sorrow that I learned today of the passing of your columnist, Jo Stuart.  Ever since I started coming to Costa Rica on an annual basis and becoming familiar with your newspaper, which I read daily, I have enjoyed her articles. She will be missed. Please accept, and also convey my condolences to  her family, and may she Rest In Peace.

Lonny Blackett
Brampton, Ontario,


Jo will be missed.  I have read her musings for as long as I can remember.  I never did understand why The Tico Times dropped her.  She lived as we expats should.  She took in the fullness of Costa Rica and shared unique corners of life here with others.  I share her love for downtown San José.  Once you get out of your car and walk around a bit, it is truly a pleasant little city.  Hasta la vista, Jo!

Tom Ghormley


My sympathies to you on the passing of Jo Stuart, who became a local institution. I have had the blessing to have gotten to know Jo somewhat, as we developed, in the beginning a pen-pal  relationship, that evolved into phone friends, with the intent of meeting in person for a luncheon. Alas this never happened, but I knew her as a vibrant, astute, and caring individual — a rare combination these days. So condolences on your loss. She will be missed. The butterfly has flown. Long live the butterfly!

Hari Singh Khalsa


Miss Jo and I had many world experiences in common, and she and I could not have been farther apart on the political spectrum.  When we communicated it was mostly about new recipes to try. She will be missed as assuredly she was loved.

Robert E. Rodgers
Playa Dominical


I was saddened to read of Jo Stuart’s passing this morning in But as I read through the article, I kept being reminded of the joy with which she embraced life, and it came to me that the last thing she would  have wanted is for us to feel sad. She’d remind us that she was just transitioning to another joyful part of living. She was a great lady. I’m blessed that I knew her.

Warren Kinsman
Barrio Escalante


I was so sorry to read that Jo Stuart had died.  Her Friday columns with witty, and sometimes political observances about life in San José and Costa Rica were always a highlight of my Friday reading list.  Please pass my condolences on to her family and colleagues.  While I’m unlikely to be able to attend a memorial service, I would be interested in know where donations might be made on her behalf. In sympathy,

John Fox
Ottawa, Ontario


I was so saddened to read today that we’ve lost Jo Stuart . I’ve read her column for many years and looked forward to her interesting and heartfelt insights. So many times just one sentence would resonate with me for days . Rather than just relating the superficial aspects of experiences both ordinary and extraordinary Jo shared what she thought and felt about them and made them all meaningful and inspirational. I will truly miss her reflections upon life here and everywhere .

Pamela Ellsworth


I am very saddened to learn of Jo Stuart’ passing. Jo’s sense of humor, keen observations and amazing love for people and for Costa Rica will be sorely missed. She was a beacon of light for the Friday edition. Hasta luego, Jo. And thank you!

Javier Zavaleta
Los Angeles, California


My deepest condolence. I  loved the way she describe her articles, and she was such a good   dame. We will miss her!

Mauricio Corleto
Houston, Texas


Each Friday I looked forward to setting aside a few minutes to read what Jo Stuart had to say that week. Whether or not I concurred with her point of view, we could have a friendly e-mail discussion. One topic we agreed upon was giving our remains to UCIMED for the medical students to use as a learning tool. We both are/were members of the bus corps and use(d) CAJA services.

Jo very kindly let me quote from some of her columns (crediting A.M. Costa Rica) in my book about retiring in Costa Rica, to be included in future editions, and where I also reference her book, “Butterfly in the City, A Good Life in Costa Rica.” Writers are among those people who want to help each other. I shall miss our “discussions,” the occasional encounter at a meeting or in someone’s home, and feel the emptiness within knowing I can no longer share with her thoughts about our wonderful experiences in Ticoland, sloughing off any unpleasant events as insignificant, as well as information about our individual lives during our adventures here. Remembering,

Helen Dunn Frame
Santa Ana


I am so saddened to hear of the passing of Jo Stuart. She was exceptionally observant, endlessly fascinated with the world around her and able to convey the wonder of her discoveries through her writing. Her compassion, wisdom and diplomacy shined through, despite her humility. The world needs more people like her.

Heidi Allen
San Antonio, Texas
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