Jo Anne Files

November 08, 2023

Jo Anne Schaefer Files, 90, passed away at home with her family on Nov. 4, 2023. She was born to Eugene and Ethel (Morris) Schaefer on September 18, 1933, in Hunter, AR. She attended Hunter Elementary and graduated from Brinkley High School in 1951, where she was co-captain of the basketball team. Jo Anne married Jack Files on October 10, 1952, and they had four children.

Jack and Jo Anne began married life in California and later spent years between Washington, D.C., and North Little Rock, following Jack’s political career path. While raising their children, she did volunteer work at their church, the PTA, and with hospital patients, where she earned Volunteer of the Year.

Jo Anne returned to the workforce as a caseworker in the office of Congressman Wilbur D. Mills and stayed on when Jim Guy Tucker was elected to the same position. From there, she worked for Governor Bill Clinton during his first term, but was soon offered a job in the General Services Administration of the federal government. She was ultimately promoted to purchasing agent, the position she held until her retirement.

Records from her time in government are replete with accolades from colleagues, employers, and customers, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knew Jo Anne. She was very practical, organized, and grounded. Her kids will tell you these qualities were a necessary counterweight to life with Jack. She was a great sports fan, especially of Cardinals baseball, Cowboys football, and Razorbacks everything. There is no question she was a very loving and supportive mother to her children (and their partners). A renowned cook, her family Sunday dinner remained a lifelong tradition. Entrees were accompanied by a selection of sides and there was always bread (because no meal is complete without bread). Dinner would also be followed with an apology if she had only made one dessert.

Jo Anne was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of 55 years, Jack, and her beloved baby brother, Fred Schaefer. She is survived by her children Jonathan, Jana, Joel, and Jason (Stephanie Harris); her niece Audra Wilcox (Ernie) and nephew Clay Schaefer (Nikki), and their children; and many other family and friends.

Visitation will be held from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, at Bob Neal Funeral Home in Brinkley, AR, followed by a graveside service at Hunter Cemetery.