Emma- Jo Gruber

September 03, 1953 ‒ June 03, 2018

Delaware, Ohio

In the pool, in the middle of summer, sitting cross legged on a raft, reeds floating all around her as she weaved baskets…..that is how I will remember my beautiful, loving, hippie mother.

On Sunday, June 3, 2018, Emma-Jo passed away.

My overwhelming grief leaves me without words.  As I sit on my porch, where mom loved to come and share coffee….or a damn Diet Coke, I struggle to write something that will encapsulate my mother, our mother, to the community, in her death.

Mom was full, so very full, of care and love for her children that it bled into love for the children of others.  She mothered us all alike; her own and our friends.  Her unconditional love for all of our friends taught us to build community.  Family and friends all poured together under her watch.

Mom was an artist.  She could draw and paint.  Many of the toys we had were handmade by her.  She was a woodworker and a seamstress.  Our clothes were handmade by her.  She painted faces on the china dolls she made, dolls that were adorned in lovely dresses, also made by her.  If you needed a new skirt for a party at 7pm, you could pick a fabric from her stash in the basement at 5pm and she would hand you a new skirt to wear just in time.

Mom never thought anything was too precious for us.  So, when I broke the china doll she made and lost a small piece from her head, mom glued her back together, carefully placing a silver gum wrapper where the missing piece should have been and then sewed a lacy bonnet to cover her broken skull.

Mom was very careful about our education.  When school did not call a snow day, she called it for us and we spent the day playing the drifts and making hot chocolate.  When we were learning about something particularly important to her that she thought better for us to see, she requested our school work for the week and piled us in the car to drive us to see for ourselves.  When dad had business trips to towns with historic sites, she would rent a camp site instead of reserving a hotel for him and the whole family would tag along.

Mom could pack four kids and a camper faster than anyone I know and we’d be off for a weekend in the woods.  Hiking, mom would put the Audubon books in our packs so we could look up all of the critters and trees we saw along the way.  We hated that!

Mom was always our biggest fan. Even if you are still, today, playing and singing the same songs you learned on the piano in high school, she will look on, with pride-filled tears in her eyes.  She will also nearly pee her pants watching as you sing and dance to Bohemian Rhapsody in the kitchen.

Mom laughed with us, mom also cried with us.  She protected us.  She reminded us what was really important when we were lost in the minutia of life.

Mom played, hiked, camped, boated, was a campfire girl troop leader, swam, made us stay outside until the street lights came on, made dolls, raised puppies, turtles, iguana, fish, kittens, and piranha, didn’t get mad when our friends got cake batter on the kitchen ceiling; she just loved us in everything we did and taught us how to live loving others.

Emma-Jo Gruber was preceded in death by her parents, Kenneth William Gruber and Ellen Frances Gruber, and her son, Frank Richard Hamilton III.  She is survived by her brother, George Kenneth Gruber, and children and niece, Frances-Jo Hamilton, Andrea Lynn Hecker and Kenneth William Gruber Hamilton, and grand daughter, Frances Marie Hamilton and nephews Daniel Joseph Wright and Connor Mathew Wright.

Memorial services celebrating Emma- Jo’s life will be held at a later date.

To share a fond memory or to leave a message of condolence please visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I know exactly what you are feeling because I lost my Mom when she was 46. Please know hat you are in our thoughts and prayers. Just hold onto the great memories, they will sustain you. Love Tina and Dennis

  • Such a beautiful, moving tribute to such a fun-loving, generous woman. Thank you, Frances, for putting your heart in words. Sending love and light and looking forward to celebrating Emma-Jo’s life soon.

  • Frances, I am so profoundly sorry for your loss. I thought something seemed off when I saw you yesterday at Oakland, but had no idea… you will
    Be in my thoughts with all the sympathy I can offer. Losing a parent is so terribly hard when they are young as your mother was. Please know you have friends to support you. Erinn Nicley

  • Jo, There are no words. You are in our thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. We love you.
    Adam & Serena

  • Emma-Jo passed her creative abundance to her daughter as evidenced in this most wonderfully written obit. At Washington Middle School, out faculty got to enjoy the masterful parenting of this wonderful lady. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

  • Emma-Jo passed her creative abundance to her daughter as evidenced in this most wonderfully written obit. At Washington Middle School, our faculty got to enjoy the masterful parenting of this wonderful lady. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

  • My sweet friend,

    Sending you lots of love. It is a blessing to have so many vivid and happy memories of your mom. I hope, one day, these memories bring smiles with only a twinge of sadness. Clearly, she loved you very much, and inspired you to live life to the fullest and find joy in everyone and everything. Lots of hugs.


  • Please accept our sincere sympathies and condolences on the loss of your mother Emma -Jo (Gruber) Hamilton. May she rest in peace.
    Prayers to you and the family….Bob & Holly Gerspacher

  • The loss of your mother is irreplaceable. But you’re wonderful tribute and your memories will stay in your heart forever. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

    Berni Dodeci

  • Jo,
    Such a heart felt and beautifully written tribute to your lovely mother, Emma-Jo. Remembering your mother’s wonderful and gentle soul will forever remain in your heart and in the hearts of others that she has touched along her journey. May you find comfort in your memories of her. Thinking of you and your family during this difficult time. HUGS.

  • Jo, my heart aches for you as I hear this news. It sounds like your mom was amazing- the kind of mom many inspire to be. Wonderful memories make the loss all the more painful…holding you in my prayers. Love to you.

  • My heart breaks for you. Prayers for strength, understanding and peace as you mourn the loss of your mother.

  • Good bye to you my friend alot of childhood memories of our lives together that will be forever missed you are sadly missed by the kids and grandkids rest in peace and know that one day we will all meet again much love to you and your family

  • What a beautiful tribute to your mother! I am so very sorry for the loss of your awesome mother. You told us many wonderful stories about her and your life growing up. Praying that God will bring you comfort in the days, weeks and months ahead.

    Karen, John and Serena

  • What a beautiful tribute, Jo. Your generous, intelligent, loving nature and Marie’s and the other lives your mother cared for and nurtured are a living tribute to her as well. I’m very sorry for your loss. Sending love to you and your family.

  • Lovely tribute to your mother. We are 1971 Hayes High classmates. I’m so sorry for your loss. I am the keeper of our fallen classmates memories. It saddens me to have to add Emma Jo to our fallen list. I am honored to do this. 🙏🙏🙏🙏 💗💗💗💗

  • So very sorry and loved reading about her life and yours. She was a wonderful person and has left so many memories for all. Sending prayers please extend my Sympathy to all and George please.