Allen E. Parker (Jo's father) Irene Parker (Jo's mother) The Parker Family at Woodstock
Art and Jo's Wedding
Sailing in Arabesque from Puget Sound to Desolation Sound
Enjoying being Grandma and Pop pops
2001 Living in Lake Stevens
2002 Living in Everett
Brittany (Bruce Cunningham's Grand daughter)
2004 Sagle, Idaho Living with JanJan, Jerry, Moki
Woodstock Reunion at Estes Park
Parker Family (Kittu, Barb, Jo, Don and Harriet) Ann Hall
Bill, Jo, Don Barb, Jo, Bill Parker Clan Jo, Heidi, Barb, Benjy
2005 Bellingham, WA The Courtyard
Jo Galbraith Sipprell
Jo was born in Mussoorie, India (United Provinces) in 1922.
She lived about 100 miles north of New Delhi and 600ft. up in the mountains.
You had to walk about 5 miles up into the mountains to reach Woodstock .
Then had a marvelous panoramic view 70miles or more of the Deradune and the Plains. Robert Parker her father was the principal of Woodstock. Her mother was a teacher. Woodstock was a school with approximately 300 students from many different countries, as well as India.
Jo’s oldest sister was Katherine nicknamed Kittu who was 3 years older. Barbara was her younger sister (5 years younger) Dorothy, another sister, died before Jo was born. Patty another sister also died. Jo remembers her mother grabbing her and crying.
The Parker family lived in Woodstock School at the boy’s hostel in the beginning. Most of the students worked on the Plains. Woodstock students attended school from early March to November. Jo remembered living in a big apartment until their first furlough. Jo was about 7 years old. Jo’s funniest memory during this time in her life was about the swimming pool. Girls came to swim 2 times a week. Evidently when the girls got ready to go home, one girl was lagging behind. This was a “No, no” . All of a sudden it was the boys’ turn. You never saw so many naked boys running to jump into the pool. You never saw anyone jump out of the swimming pool so fast as the last little girl! Wonder if she learned a lesson that day.
Every 7 years the Parkers got to go on furlough. Jo remembered her first trip at 7 years old to the United States. From Carachie to Basra to Mecca. The Parker family went through Basra, Iraq where they visited lots of friends. Many friends were made at Woodstock. Traveling on furlough was expensive and her dad was given a limited amount of money. Jo remembers her father student slept on the deck. Unfortunately she had to go sleep in a room. She climbed out and got on the deck anyway.
Crossing the straits. Jo remembered, “ when we got fuel. As one side of the boat was filled, the boat tipped. One side was much higher. It was just about lunch time. Everything slid on the table. They had to put water under table mats so they wouldn’t slide.”
Mr. Parker taught the importance of “friends and being who you are”. As they journeyed from Bushra by train different people got on. The British (who appeared to be very important people) wanted passage to Damascus. The conductor said , “there was no room on the train for them”. But Mr. Parker “ …you have room on the train and a car so you can go with friends for supper.” All the Britishers squished in. There was not enough room so Jo stayed up where the train lights were. Before Bushra – the Parkers were greeted with friends who shared a picnic. The British soldiers joined in. “Friends are more important than anything”. Jo remembered seeing the desert for the first time. The British came along with the Parker Family. The Parker Family visited places that they had heard about in the bible. In Damascus they rented a car. “Mom, Barb and I stayed near Bethlehem.”
Mr. Parker taught his children the importance of TRAVEL…”You need to learn about the world. Go a different way”. The Parker family traveled by car, by boat, by train, ( Jo even got to travel by camel and elephant.)The Parkers traveled from Turkey and Constantinople to Athens, to Italy, to Switzerland, …
When Jo was 8 years old… Mr. Parker was getting his Doctorate Degree at University of Chicago. They stayed in Chicago for a year and visited family in the United States. Mr. Parker was from Ohio. He had a brother in Iowa and a mother in California. Jo thought that she would not have to go to school. Ha! They kept her in school! Mr. Parker was kind but not that kind. Mr. Parker liked raw eggs and toast. He would say “open real big and swallow.” Jo remembers eating raw eggs, too, just like her dad.
When Jo was 9-10 years old… Jo described herself as a “stinkly little girl”. She remembered living in India in a house of their own by the school. She wound up in the principal’s office on more than one occasion. How did she get there? Jo’s side of the story goes like this:
I was sitting nicely one day in class. We had a beginning teacher who was pretty boring. On my desk there was an inkwell and a well for plasticene (clay). I started playing with the clay. That wasn’t so bad. But the boy in front on me filled the clay well with ink. Jo managed to get ink all over herself shortly.
How did Jo handle the situation? “I slugged the boy. He bled. We were sent to the Principal’s Office to see Mr. Parker. I had to walk with that obnoxious boy!!!
Mr. Parker laughed and asked, “Tell me what happened? What were you doing with plasticene?
Jo pleaded, “ Do something, Daddy.”
Mr. Parker answered, “ I’m not daddy now, I’m Mr. Parker, the Principal!
Jo and the “boy” , both had to sit side by side for half an hour to figure out a solution.
Inky and Bloody glaring at each other.
We calmed down. We finally got washed up and walked back to class.
We got teased. Jo remembers her father as uncooperative! Obnoxious!
Another memory, people were not used to having servants. They served your food. Our servants could be “obnoxious” , too. If Jo didn’t want to eat all of her vegetables , the servants would remind her that “ YOU HAVE TO EAT IT!”
Jo tells a story about Prema Chandra, the princess who came to live with them. Prema’s father was Sidhra Angrea, head of the Wallier Group. When Prema came to Woodstock her parents expected the Parker Family to open up their “ Western Style” home to her. They wanted their daughter to have a good education. They insisted that their daughter would live with the Parkers, not in a boarding school dorm. This meant that Prema got Jo’s bedroom. Jo moved in with Kittu. Just what an older sister loved. As an adult , Jo still has a picture of Prema in her living room. After 4-5 years Prema became one of the Parker family.
If you asked Jo what famous people she met in India. Yes, she met Gandhi. Her mother’s best friend was a Mrs. Pundit who later became the first President of the UN after the war. She was the sister of Nehru the first President, but more importantly she loved the Parkers. She was good to Barbara after her mother died. She helped Mr. Parker unpack and make living quarters.
Jo remembers the demand for India’s Independence.
High School Years… and Visitors to Woodstock
Jo’s favorite most exciting guest had to be the fellow who made the 1st climb on Everest. He did not make it successfully, but decided to climb the 2nd highest mountain that had never been climbed.
This guest was a young, absolutely marvelous handsome fellow.
Jo got in trouble for ‘over-doing it’ . Jo never exactly said what sweet things she said to the guest, but we can guess. Her mother gently pushed at Jo’s foot under the table. Once, Twice, … Jo finally verbalized to her mother to “quit kicking my foot”.Everyone knew immediately it was the wrong thing to say.
Gracious Mrs. Parker quietly got her point across.
College Years in the United States
War was breaking out.
Jo left for the United States in April
She went from the Red Sea up to Italy
$183/Each to get to the U.S.
Italy and Germany were enemies at War.
The United States was not at war. People were terrified.
“People are hurt in war
NOT by bullets, but by the terror and confusion.”
Jo went to Sweden and Switzerland.
The 3 girls go to a Girl Guide conference in Budepest in August.
We got tired and fuzzier about war approaching.
“People are people everywhere
Wars are started by who’s running the government”
Jo remembers waiting to take a ship to England. At a Youth Hostel a lady hugged Jo and said “Your Poor Mama! Your Poor Mama”
There were mock air raids in Germany and England.
War had not yet broken out with England and the United States..
In England they got to see “Mid Summer Nights Dream” in the park
More mock air raids.
No phones were available to call home.
Jo finally got to the US, it was the last German boat to get to the U.S.
College in the United States
Kittuu graduated in the spring and was gone 3 years. She had met Chuck.
Mrs. Parker was having trouble with her kidneys, so she decided to stay with Jo.
Mrs. Parker talked to Jo and said , “You’re all grown up now, we can just be pals.”
What a wonderful relationship and time Jo and her mother had. They traveled together to California and Kansas City as buddies and friends. Jo got to know actually who her mother was.
Jo promised her folks that she’d get a degree.
She enrolled in
Park College in Kansas City, Missouri
Jo also attended Whittier College for 2 years in California
(Mrs. Parker had gone to Whittier and Jo’s grandmother)
Jo had a free scholarship which helped her attend school.
Jo remembered that she waited on tables at her mother’s ’48 Reunion!
(One of Jo’s jobs to earn extra money.)
After her mom died Jo wanted to get moving on with her studies.
She attended Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio (Nursing)
Her mother had found this University. Previously her mother had even had surgery there.
Jo got her Master’s Degree.
If Jo went to Cleveland and got a B+ Average . Whittier would give her credit for her college degree.
So Jo came back for one year and graduated with the Whittier College before entering Nursing College.
Next, Jo joined the Nursing Core and finished her Master’s Degree.
She owed them time.
She worked in Washington, D.C. at the Veteran’s Hospital which turned out to be a shocker.
This hospital didn’t obey the same standards. They were careless on TB.
In fact, after working there Jo was exposed to TB and showed spots one of her lungs.
She left for California and needed to monitor it.
After California, Jo Parker worked in Honolulu, Hawaii for a year. Her old roommate and friend Alice had asked Jo to come join her. More stories to follow.
Jo traveled to Sitka, Alaska following her Hawaii assignment.
In fact she met Bob Galbraith.
Janet and Robbie were born in Sitka.
Jo worked at the hospital in Sitka and loved the area.
More stories to follow:
Bob decided to move to Everett , not Seattle.
So the family moved south.
In 1951 Linda was born.
Jo stayed at home and raised her family for awhile….did some painting to help Bob in his construction work.
Hospital work was too hard for a lady with 3 children, but Jo accepted a “School Nursing” job with Everett School District as her last career in nursing. She worked K-12 students in elementary, middle schools, and high schools for the next 25 years. Jo loved working with the teachers and students.
She has so many wonderful stories being a school nurse and heading the nursing staff.
Bob Galbraith died while Jo was working at Garfield and Hawthorne School.
In 1981 Jo Galbraith married Art Sipprell and became Mrs. Sipprell.
Liz Sipprell (Reading Teacher at Garfield) and Katie Bopp introduced the two.
Katie told Jo that we have somebody we want you to meet. Tuesday morning Jo canceled her haircut. Katie said “You’re going to meet a man!”
Liz chaperoned. Art and Jo had drinks . They drove over to Art’s house.
What a life style change!
She learned to sail Arabesque (36ft. Choi Lee)
They lived in a tall skinny “artsy” house overlooking Lake Stevens.
Jo eventually retired from her school nursing job.
She became an excellent navigator and Co-Captain sailing to Desolation Sound for the next 12 years.
She probably wondered what have I gotten myself into many times as she sailed, pulled up the anchors, checked the water depth, sanded and oiled all the teak decks and painted Arabesque.
Jo and Art made many friends on their journeys. One named Brenda Gow told Jo some sacred advice:
Look at what you NEED to have DONE. Art doesn’t know how to teach you “left-handed”.
Sailing became easier as they bought a self-furling jib and a anchor with brakes.
Jo became not only a wife, but mother and grandmother .
She added additional daughters - Liz Sipprell Healy and Barb Washo.
Jo and Art gained some grandchildren.
Barb and Mike Washo – Benjy and Bernie Washo
Kari and Rob Galbraith – Sarah Jo and Ryan
Linda and Keith Witter – Amanda and Matthew
Janet and Jerry Mason – Shannon and Shawn
Great Grandchildren – Chelsie
Great Great Grandchild- Cruz
Jo and Art had many happy years together. They made friends wherever they went.
Jo shared her life with this big family. The soup was always on at the Sipprell’s.
Visit and feel welcome, everyone.
It seems that Jo never quit being a nurse .
Her skills seemed to be needed with her family and in her new neighborhood.
Neighbors were always bringing kids down for Jo’s advice, before taking them to the doctor.
Probably one of Jo’s most important feats was helping Art battle cancer and survive.
Art got to live an extra 10 years because of Jo’s positive attitude, patience, love and excellent nursing skills.
Art died October, 1996 from a heart attack.
A few years later, Jo met Bruce Cunningham at her Congregational Church where she volunteered much of her life.
What a happy loving couple they made until Bruce died suddenly .
A tribute to Jo….
Jo just like her father has had a positive vision for the future that inspires us today.
Jo just like her mother has been a mentor. Her radiant spirit and courageous personality inspires us on and on today. Jo used to have a mentor…Mrs. Ashbrook, Jo humbly never felt she was mentor.
Yet to family, friends, staff members, nurse friends, church friends, neighborhood friends, sailing friends, Woodstock classmates…Jo has made a difference in many people’s lives. She helped others in need whenever she could. She loved people and gave her best and was loved by everyone. Even at The Courtyard staff and surrounding new friends loved Jo. Is she always that sweet? YES!