In Memory of Our Partner Jo-Ann Colburn

Picture of 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

With a heavy heart,

Eric D. Colburn, PLS
Partner and President, Colburn Strategic Partners, Inc.

12 Responses to “In Memory of Our Partner Jo-Ann Colburn

  • Corrine Cassavaugh
    3 years ago

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I also have chronic Lyme.

  • Tom Arneson
    3 years ago


    My condolences to you and your family.

  • Maire
    3 years ago

    I am so sorry for your loss. Jo-Ann was so blessed to have such a supportive partner.

  • George Dumas
    3 years ago

    My prayers for you and your family.

  • Laura Little Holt
    3 years ago

    I will uphold your family in my prayers and ceremonies. As a Lakota woman, I share with you the ritual of our Keeping of a Soul. We believe the family keeps their loved one’s soul for a year. We cut our hair. We allow the tribe to support us in our grief. At a year’s end, we rejoin the community. We release the soul to the creator and celebrate with pow wow. Allow your tribe to support you during your grief. Honor her memory by being gentle with yourselves. Your love is not lost, but eternal. Thank you for your sharing . Blessings – Red Day Woman

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I have had chronic Lyme with nerve pain for 17 yeara. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Bonnie Huntsinger
    3 years ago

    I am so deeply saddened and sorry for your loss! Words fail me. I am 58 and have had Lyme and Coinfections over 26 years. May your dear Jo-Ann rest in peace. I will be praying for your entire family. For strength to keep going through this painful loss. May a blessed reunion await down the road in Heaven. She surely is among the angels now. XO

  • Carroll Aasen
    3 years ago

    Eric & the Colburn Family,

    My Condolences & Prayers to you. May your grieving be short lived, but the great Memories last your lifetime.

  • Deborah Young
    3 years ago

    Prayers for you and your family for such sad news.
    Thank you for sharing. All of us with this terrible disease know the struggles and pain, and appreciate what you have both done.

    • Pamela
      3 years ago

      I am so very sorry for your loss…your wife was loves by all and helped me. I am forever greatful. I have had lymes 35 yrs and I was mis diagnosed as many. I am so tired of the fight, but i keep trying to believe something with be developed to help me as well as others. Sir, I will hold your family close to my heart with prayers that your sons, and for all of you, that your faith in knowing she is still with you in spirit, just in a better place called pain free. I so wish I could do more for you all. Be well and careful too when out with ticks. Let’s fight together to find better solutions and educate the world. Thank-you so very much for giving me the chance to speak out. ♡

  • Gillian McKenna
    3 years ago

    I hope to learn a lesson from Jo-Ann and tackle this disease with grace and courage. A true inspiration. God bless you all.

  • Richard Webb, RLS
    3 years ago

    I am truly sorry about your wife passing, at such a young age and that she had to deal with that pain for so long. God bless you as you try to go forward one step at a time.

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