In Memory of Our Partner Jo-Ann Colburn
We would like to take this moment in memory of Jo-Ann Colburn, our partner in every sense of the word in business and our personal lives. She lived a life of grace and hope while struggling with Chronic Lyme Disease for 15 years. A few weeks ago, at age 50, she succumbed to her illness while surrounded by our three sons and myself. We are devastated by this loss of someone so dear to us but somewhat comforted that Jo-Ann’s pain and suffering has ended.
A founding partner of Colburn Strategic Partners, Inc., Jo-Ann often worked behind the scenes. She had a keen sense for business and strategic instincts, along with an almost supernatural ability to size-up a person. She also worked with me for over 22 years at Foster Survey Company.
As a life partner, we were married for 29 years and together for 33 years. Many have told me how lucky I am to have been together for so many years, and this is true! However, I think romanticizing our longevity misses the mark and does a disservice to Jo-Ann’s memory. To stay together for that many years required a lot of hard work – much of that hard work was done by Jo-Ann. Behind any good man is often a better woman, and this is true with us.
As much as she was an astute business person and loving wife, she would want to be remembered mostly as a mother. From an early age during a rocky childhood, Jo-Ann wanted to be a mom. Having lived through bad parenting, she fully understood what good parenting would mean in a child’s life and future. We were blessed with three beautiful boys who, in large part to her parenting, are genuinely nice and compassionate young men. Seeing her struggle with a chronic illness taught our boys many lessons, some harder than others, but in the end they are very caring and compassionate individuals like their mom.
She also loved her gardens, the tranquility of life in the country, and music, particularly when played by her sons. Jo-Ann had many artistic talents, too, including writing, singing, painting and photography.
Jo-Ann wrote online about family, wellness and the perils of Lyme disease, particularly when misdiagnosed as another disease, which happened to her. Not only did she develop strong relationships among her circle of friends within the Lyme disease communities she joined or started, but she helped thousands of people (since her passing this has become very evident) from around the world learn more about Lyme disease, it’s symptoms and diagnosis. On her journey, she showed her family, friends and connections world-wide how to live with grace and hope while enduring chronic illness.
Regardless of what you may have been told or believe to be true, Lyme disease is now present in every state and most countries around the world. Lyme disease, along with many other insect transmitted infectious diseases, can kill you if not treated completely – Jo-Ann’s death is proof of that. Pay close attention to your symptoms, regardless of the test results, which are not even close to 100% accurate. Please take precautions to avoid ticks, check yourself daily for ticks, and get prompt treatment if you’ve been bitten by a tick.
You can make donations in Jo-Ann’s memory to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) at http://ilads.org/.
With a heavy heart,
Eric D. Colburn, PLS
Partner and President, Colburn Strategic Partners, Inc.