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Zetta Jo (Welton) Brake celebrated her 80th birthday on Saturday, March 5, at the Mansfield Community Center.
With well over 50 in attendance, Jo was surrounded by the warmth of family and friends at a party in her honor. They came from as far as California, Kansas, Arkansas, and Springfield to wish this special lady a very happy birthday. Jo relished in all the well-deserved attention. Family and friends enjoyed good food and great company.
Jo Brake was born in Sweden, Mo., in 1931, the daughter of Otis and Malissa Welton. Jo enjoyed the rural life growing up on the family’s dairy farm with her parents, three sisters and two brothers. In her youth she attended Excelsior Grammar School, a one-room schoolhouse near Sweden, and later attended Ava High School where she enjoyed playing clarinet in the marching band.
Following high school, Jo attended Southwest Missouri State Teacher’s College (now Missouri State University) and returned briefly to the Sweden area to teach elementary school before deciding to move permanently to Springfield.
She married William A. (Bill) Brake of Springfield, Mo., in 1955 and has three children and seven grandchildren.
Unwilling to start a life of leisure, Jo remains self employed as a children’s day care provider, a service she started over four decades ago. She is also active in her church and with her family. As a gesture of thanks to her well wishers sharing her special day, she invited all guests back for her 90th birthday as well.