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 bachelor’s and master’s degrees 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, including the Strickland Youth Center, to help them procure grants.
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 was Friday, March 2, at 9 a.m. at Swift Presbyterian Church, 23208 Swift Church Road, Foley. A memorial service took place at 10 at the church, with a reception afterward. Expressions of condolence may be offered at hughesfh.com. Arrangements are by Hughes Funeral Home and Crematory, Daphne.