In Loving Memory
March 4, 1932 – February 2, 2018
Jo Ann Flirt, a native of Mobile and a longtime resident of both Mobile and Baldwin Counties, died Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. She was 85 years old.
Jo Ann was survived by two brothers, Gerald Wright of Somerset, Texas, and James Sellars of Robertsdale; four nieces, Anita Brooks of Lambert, Miss., Elizabeth Quinn of Carrollton, Texas, Catherine Norwood of Humble, Texas, and Alicia Smith of Auburn, Ala.; two nephews, Robert Wright of Sequin, Texas, and James Sellars, Jr., of Robertsdale; and many beloved cousins and friends.
Jo Ann was the owner of two businesses in Mobile, the Public Relations Council, Inc., and the Mobile Record, prior to becoming the Director of Blakeley State Park, where she had worked since 1977. A graduate of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ms. Flirt earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree before teaching journalism and public relations at the university.
During Jo Ann’s tenure at Blakeley, where she served as Director beginning in 2003 until her retirement in November of 2017, she fought relentlessly to procure grants and monies to obtain the land for the park. A passionate environmentalist, Ms. Flirt led efforts to create nature trails, a Nature Center and eco-tours within the park as well as establishing many improvements to park infrastructure and operations.
Jo Ann was a founding member and former president of the Press Club of Mobile and a founding member of the Alabama chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She served as a technical writer for many area organizations to help them procure grants, including the Strickland Youth Center.
A longtime arts aficionado, Jo Ann was a season ticket holder for the Mobile Symphony Orchestra. She previously served on the boards of the City of Mobile Museum, the Joe Jefferson Players and the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. Jo Ann was a champion of civil rights and helped found Alabamians Behind Local Education, a group designed to help integrate Alabama schools, during the height of segregation. She successfully navigated and maintained cooperative relationships with federal agencies, Alabama legislators, state budget officials and local officials both through her work with Blakeley and with local political campaigns.
Visitation will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, March 2, 2018 at Swift Presbyterian Church, 23208 Swift Church Road, in Foley. Memorial services will follow at 10 a.m. with a reception following services. Expressions of condolence may be offered at hughesfh.com. Arrangements are by Hughes Funeral Home & Crematory, 7951 American Way, Daphne, AL, 36526.