Isabelle Josephine “Jo” Swartz, Colonel, USA (Ret) 1922 -2012 was born October 10, 1922 at Ft. Lewis, Washington, to (then) Lieutenant and Mrs. Charles H. Swartz.
As an Army child, Jo lived at Army posts in Hawaii, California, Oklahoma, Utah, Missouri, and Washington, D.C. She graduated from Lawton High School in Oklahoma and received her baccalaureate degree from Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and History. In 1955, Jo received a direct commission into the United States Army’s Women Army Corps at Fort Lewis, Washington, marking the beginning of twenty years of service in the Regular Army followed by service in the Washington Army National Guard.
During her Army service, Jo recognized the importance of continuing education and worked to complete the Public Affairs Course at the University of Wisconsin. She continued on to graduate from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Ft. McNair, Washington, D.C. Jo was a student of military heraldry, her Coat of Arms design for the U. S. Army Women’s Army Corps School was accepted, approved, and issued as an official distinctive unit insignia by the U. S. Army Institute of Heraldry.
In the years following her retirement, Colonel Jo (as she came to be called), served as a volunteer with several patriotic organizations. She was an American Red Cross volunteer, an officer on the Board of the Ft. Lewis Military Museum, and Commander, Regional Commander, and national staff officer of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW). Additionally, Col Jo served as Vice Regent and Regent for the Mary Ball Chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R), for which she was selected as the 2002 Washington State Outstanding Regent. Never married, Colonel Jo devoted her life to the service of others with a particular interest in supporting educational opportunities for military children. Her legacy is enduring with her donation to the Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter of AUSA to start a scholarship fund to help the children of our Service Members in their pursuit of education.