UPDATE: Jo Sapp, former League of Women Voters president, community activist dies at 68

Monday, September 10, 2012 | 6:54 p.m. CDT; updated 7:02 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 11, 2012

COLUMBIA – If Liz Schmidt ever had a question about voting issues, she would call Jo Sapp.

"She was just always there on top of all those issues," said Schmidt, a friend of Sapp’s for almost 30 years and the current treasurer and membership co-chair for the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County.

You rely on people like that when you work for an organization, Schmidt said.

Sapp, a prominent member of the league and many other local groups, died Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, from cancer. She was 68.

Sapp was passionate about protecting citizens' right to vote and believed people shouldn’t have to deal with unnecessary obstacles to that right, said Linda Kaiser, league president from 2010 to 2012.

Sapp served as the local chapter president of the league from 2004 to 2006 and as the state president from 2006 to 2008, Kaiser said.

Along with citizens’ right to vote, Sapp believed strongly in planning for the future of the community. She was a member of the city’s Comprehensive Plan Task Force and served on its steering committee.

As president of the Daniel Boone Regional Library Board of Trustees, she oversaw the construction of the new library at Broadway and Garth Avenue.

She also supported government disclosure and Sunshine Laws in the state.

"She was interested in all those areas where people could hide things," Schmidt said, adding that Sapp believed government should be fair and open.

Aline Kultgen, the civil liberties co-chair for the League of Women Voters, called the passing of Sapp a "terrible loss" for her family, friends and the community as a whole.

"Overall," Kultgen, Sapp's neighbor, said, "she was a good human being." She also described Sapp as "funny" and "warm."

Kultgen remembered a time when she handed out leaflets with Sapp for a forum on the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Although Sapp was a board member for many different organizations, Kultgen said, she didn't mind getting down on the street with everyone else.

Sapp was an editor for the Missouri Review and was an excellent writer, Kultgen said. They used to edit each others op-eds.

Even after she lost her hair because of chemotherapy, Sapp continued to go out and be active, Kultgen said.

Information about services was not available.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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