Io "Jo" DeGraw Mears served on the staff of the Julia Rogers Library from 1977 until her death in 1996. During her years at Goucher, she worked closely with students as supervisor, mentor, confidant and surrogate Mom. Many students kept in touch with her after their graduation and she followed their careers with great interest, especially those who continued in library work.
The following memorial was written by College Librarian Nancy Magnuson, and appeared in the Goucher Library News, volume 41, number 1, 1996:
Io DeGraw Mears, 1930-1996
The faculty minutes of September 25, 1996 formally record "We miss Jo." Jo Mears, library circulation coordinator, died of cancer on September 16, leaving her husband Al, with whom she attended many Friends events, five children and many friends at Goucher. "She was like a member of my family. We shared a lot together: thoughts, ideals and children. She was wonderful to work with. I miss her more than anyone will ever know," said colleague Lillie Brinkley. Comments from former students, whom she supervised, ranged from Teri Dorsey Bondroff '93 "The work ethic I have now can largely be attributed to Mrs. Mears" to "I know her spirit will stay in the library watching over you all" from Alice Hsia '96. Others on campus cited Jo's ever willingness to help library users and her calmness under pressure. Echoing the "G" in Barbara Simons' acrostic (below), catalog assistant Sheila Parsons describes the time Jo and Al encountered her struggling with her bowling ball on York Road one Saturday and "g"enerously changed their direction to take her to the bowling alley. Librarian Emerita Sarah Jones mentions the "tone she set for everyone who entered the library."
Jo Mears was born in Mexico City and lived in several other cities as a child. She attended Oberlin College for three years, but left when her family moved to Baltimore where she soon met and married Al. Raising Jane (Io), Bill (Hamilton), Finley, John and Susan fully occupied her time until she began working at the Julia Rogers Library in 1977.
In addition to serving in the library, Jo was asked to be on a number of campus-wide committees and was most recently elected as a representative of the academic division to the newly-formed Administrative Employees Association.
In lieu of flowers, the Mears family has established an endowed fellowship fund for Goucher graduates who wish to pursue graduate studies in library science. The fund has already reached over $11,000 and further contributions may be sent in care of the Julia Rogers Library.
Jo will be sorely missed by many people. We will remember her at the Julia Rogers Library for:
I her Innovative way of looking for solutions to problems
O being Organized
A accuracy in record keeping -- and remembering
L loving to laugh, but not AT people
I inability to be petty and vindictive
C calmness under pressure
I insight into the teenage mind
A an Attachment to her heels
D dignity - always
G generousity with her time, counsel and possessions
R absolute trustworthiness
W way of dealing fairly with all library users
M memory for details
E ease in interacting with everyone on the library staff
A always being helpful
R remembering to thank people
S being Superbly calming