Jo Morrison, 89, formerly of Lexington, died July 10


Josephine Rogers Morrison, 89, died peacefully on July 10 at her home in Falmouth, Maine.

Born in New Orleans, La., to John Dalrymple Rogers and the former Josephine Barkley Witherspoon, Jo spent her childhood in London, England, where her father established the engineering firm Whitelegg & Rogers, Ltd. While Jo’s parents remained in London through the Blitz and returned to the USA in 1942, Jo and her brother, Minor, were sent to live with family members in New Orleans and Lexington after the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940.

When the war ended, Jo returned to the UK and studied at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. After graduating with an Honours Degree in 1949, she embarked on a career as a literary agent. Her first job was in London, as secretary to the librarian of the National Book League.

In 1952, Jo headed to New York City, where she landed a position as junior editor at the literary agency Ty Crowell. Representing authors in fiction, cookery and children’s literature, she eventually became vice president of the literary agency Collins Knowlton Wing, a division of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Notable clients included John le Carré, Robertson Davies, and Scott Corbett.

In 1975, Jo retired and married Alexander H. Morrison, founder of the Economics Department at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, her father’s hometown. Jo lived happily with Alex at "The Old Mill" in Buena Vista until his death in 2012 at the age of 96.

In Lexington, Jo led voter registration drives and served as an election officer. She also helped lead the annual fundraising campaign for the American Cancer Society and taught knitting and sewing classes for incarcerated women. She advocated for and provided financial support to numerous local and global environmental, social justice and animal rights groups. Jo and Alex were devoted to their pets, providing a home for many stray dogs over the years. During her lifetime, Jo traveled extensively, touring Alaska, British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, Mexico, Scandinavia, the UK, France, Greece, Portugal, Turkey, and Egypt.

In 2015, Jo moved to Falmouth, Me., to be close to her family.

She is survived by her sister-in-law, Ann Rogers Carman, of Scarborough, Me.; her niece and nephew, Elizabeth L. Rogers and Thomas S. Rogers, great-niece and great-nephew, Evelyn J. Weisenburger and Harry A. Weisenburger of South Portland, Me., and her nephew, John D. Rogers, of Stockholm, Sweden.

A memorial service for Jo is planned for late September in Lexington.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be directed to the Rockbridge SPCA or to Habitat for Humanity.


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