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Jo Ann Viola Salazar

1953 - 2019
Jo Ann Viola Salazar Obituary
The 1984 University of Denver commencement program lists exactly one person graduating with a "Master of Law Librarianship" (which meant a librarian's M.A. earned along with a law degree) - Jo Ann Viola Salazar. Her path there had been twisty, and not always smooth.

Jo Ann, born Sept. 24, 1953, in Trinidad, Colorado, was the oldest of five children of a career army man, First Sergeant Joe Carlos Salazar, and his wife Frances Armijo Salazar. Her first years were the typical wanderings of a "base brat." Her earliest fond memories were of Alaska. Later came posts in West Germany, followed by (among others) a stretch at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.

But the family's roots were in Colorado, and there they often returned. In 1971, Jo Ann graduated from Plamer High School, Colorado Springs. Then her path became rocky. The family wasn't rich, and higher education for girls was not a priority. But nine years later, after a stint of community college (Pike's Peak in Colorado Springs) and numerous part-time jobs to pay her way, Jo Ann was a proud graduate of Colorado College with a degree in theology.

Her law school years and struggle for admission to the bar brought their own hassles, but at least things went faster. That double degree in law and library came only four years after Colorado College.

In the years that followed, Jo Ann's jobs included a few pro bono trials (most of which she won) as a public defender, and a much longer interval as librarian for the Colorado State Bar Association - the ideal position for someone with her training.

The many awards that came her way in those years included being named one of America's "Top Ten Business Women" of 1995, by the American Business Women's Association.

In 2007, Jo Ann moved to Ignacio, where she worked as a reference librarian and love the chance to help children.

There she met a retired Fort Lewis College teacher, Mark Coburn, who was donating many boxes of books. They wed in 2010, and the retirees created "the two-trailer marriage," in a pleasant park near Hermosa.

A warm, life-loving, caring, exceptionally bright woman whose passions ranged from genealogy to bluegrass, from elegant cooking to concern for abused women, Jo Ann struggled with a mass of health woes that eventually pulled her down at age 65. She died in Denver on May 17, 2019. Of the many outstanding medical people who did their best to sustain her, her longest relationships were with Dr. Moss Fenberg, her retinologist, Dr. Elizabeth Helms, her main nephrologist, and Marissa Kaiser, her home-dialysis nurse.

Preceded in death by her parents, First Sergeant Joe and Frances Armijo Salazar, and her brother Mike Salazar (Debbie), she is survived by her husband, Mark Coburn, her sisters Joyce Valle (Roberto), and Cindy Uptain (Stan), her brother Joe Salazar (Theresa), numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces, and grand-nephews, and a battalion of cousins.

A celebration of Jo Ann's life will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, at the Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute St., Colorado Springs.

Donations may be made to any local charity you believe in, or to , which aids people worldwide.
Published in The Durango Herald on June 11, 2019
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