Remembering Jo Weber

by Bruce A. Smith

Editor’s Note: Iconic DB Cooper researcher Jo Weber has died. Full details of her passing are unknown at this time, but she had entered a long-term healthcare facility in Pensacola, Florida in 2020. Nevertheless, Jo was a featured participant in the 2020 HBO broadcast titled, “The Mysteries of DB Cooper.”

_________________________

Jo Weber drove me crazy. She’d call me at all hours of the day or night and talk incessantly. I learned to put her on a time-limit, and in the last year of our relationship – two years before she passed away in February 2021 – I would tell her I “had to go in five minutes,” and when that mark was exceeded, I’d say, “Jo, I really have got to go,” and just hang up the phone.

But now she’s gone, and I feel like I’ve lost a member of the family, a sister even. She was part of our little family of Cooper researchers, and I had known Jo as long as I had known anyone in the Cooper firmament. I first encountered her at the DZ in 2008, where I first met all of the other notables of Cooper World – Snowmman, 377, Ckret, Georger, Sluggo, JT, Galen. From 2008 until the DZ’s close in 2014, Jo and I traded barbs daily, often many times a day.

But tonight, I feel sad. Teary even, and I’m surprised. Jo’s specialty was getting under your skin, and I guess she got under mine in ways I never knew until now.

For those who might have known the “old Jo” – for she faded in the past few years as her health declined and she ended up in a memory care facility in Pensacola in 2020 – the old gal was a fire ball. At the DZ she posted 2-3,000 words a day on why her husband Duane Weber was DB Cooper, or how the FBI was impeding her latest evidentiary quest, or telling us all about a newly remembered tidbit of Duane’s life that just happened to fit neatly into the latest finding or hypothesis in the Norjak case. Ever the saint, 377 would kindly explain to Jo why her latest gambit was flawed. The rest of us just smirked at the two of them because we knew it was all a grand dance.

When the DZ reopened in 2017, Jo went back at it, although I never visited due to the ugliness of the site. Jo was eventually banned at the new and improved chat room – The DB Cooper Forum – by its moderator Shutter, for reasons that I can’t remember at the moment. But Jo was always contentious and accusative, insane at times and silly at others, but always real – like bad weather or a flat tire. As a result, Shutter probably didn’t have the patience for Jo’s daily assaults and whining. Her laments about her computers and Internet service were constant, yet she never seemed to find a technician who could get her back in the saddle. Of note, Jo was never able to post a single photo in all of her time on the Internet.

But she was utterly intriguing, as well. She was smart and well informed. She knew everyone in the Cooper story, and developed access to folks that I didn’t have, even with Snowmman’s assistance, like Jane Mucklow Dormuth. Jo was one of the first to find Tina at the end of her 30-year silence, and she talked with super-warrior and SOG vet Billy Waugh before I even knew about him or his elite commandos. When I finally spoke with Sgt Billy, he told me that he hoped I “wasn’t like that Jo Weber person – she’s totally crazy.” Sgt Waugh has seven Purple Hearts from Korea and Vietnam, so he should know crazy when he sees it.

In addition, Jo knew much about the dark shadows of Norjak, such as MK-Ultra. She even knew about JM Wave, which was a CIA command center that I didn’t even know existed even though it is reportedly the largest intelligence installation in the United States. Of course, she knew about it because Duane had worked there, or so she said.

Or someone had told her, for I often felt that Jo Weber was someone else’s eyes and ears – feeding Jo juicy facts about Norjak and secret government activities to keep track of what the rest of us were doing in our Cooper investigations.

Along those lines, Jo could weasel her way into any conversation about anything. Half of what she said was bull, but half wasn’t, and that’s what made her so attractive – ya just had to find out what was true.

She was persuasive, and after she gave Ralph Himmelsbach the full Jo Weber treatment, the venerable old FBI agent claimed Duane Weber was one of the best DB Cooper suspects he had ever encountered. Jo even charmed the pants off Brian Pasternak of US News and World Report, who similarly touted Duane as Cooper in his internationally acclaimed magazine. When I called Pasternak to discuss Jo, he declined, saying that he didn’t want to jeopardize his new position as communications director for the US Senate Committee on Science and Technology. DBC and Jo had some powerful influences in unexpected places.

On a personal level, Jo was amusing and annoying. I traveled with her through Cooper Country for a couple of days, exploring her most recent memories of Duane and their travels through Oregon and southwestern Washington in 1979. Our day started by my waiting for twenty minutes in her hotel room as she put on make-up, and then she almost got us killed driving her rental SUV three blocks to a diner on Mill Plain Road in Vancouver. After that, I did all the driving. Jo did most of the talking. Sigh.

Physically, Jo was diminutive – about 5’2” and skinny as hell. Maybe 90 pounds. She ate like a picky bird and had numerous digestive disorders, such as Crone’s disease. She gave waitresses fits with her food orders – can’t have this and put that on the side, etc. At the Red Lion in Vancouver, I almost reached across the table to give her a royal head slap and ensure she apologized to the waiter for her incessantly rude requests. At moments like that, she as the worst kind of entitled bitch.

But she always had something to say, and there was never really a dull moment when one was around Jo Weber. That said, I’m glad that no one took her loud rantings seriously in 2013 when she accused me of murdering Earl Cossey. Knowing the King Country Sheriff’s Office, I’m glad I never got arrested, but I sure miss the hell out of Jo tonight now that she’s gone.

Rest in Peace, Jo, and I probably don’t have to tell ya to keep kicking ass, wherever you are.

Duane and Jo Weber, circa 1979.
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26 Responses to Remembering Jo Weber

  1. Carlos Perez says:

    A moving journalistic epitaph, even without the photograph I could picture Ms. Weber.

  2. Murat says:

    It is with great sadness that we received the news of Jo Weber’s passing. My condolences to her family and her “memory man.”

    • brucesmith49 says:

      Yes, we got the word from Jo’s “Memory Man,” aka Tim Collins and a fellow who starred with her in the HBO documentary.

      • Murat says:

        That HBO Documentary on DB Cooper was one of the best documentaries I have ever seen on DB Cooper. That’s because of you. Why? Knowledge and authenticity.

  3. brucesmith49 says:

    Editor’s Note: This memory comes from Galen Cook, via email:

    3/2021 12:14 AM, galen cook wrote:
    > B:
    > I guess you know that Jo Weber died about 8 months ago. She was one crazy gal, but I still have a few fond memories of her. She used to call me about 2am in Spokane and lay our some weird work assignment for me as though I was her personal investigator. I’d ask her if she knew what time it was and she would say, “yeah, its 5:00am. I’m an early riser.” Then she would start yelling at me over the phone because I didn’t agree with her. How do you be polite to a woman like Jo and still ask for information while listening to her scream at you. I will say that I was able to locate Tina Mucklow because of one clue she dribbled out to me, probably inadvertently. The clue led me to Tina, about 2006. Of course, after you ran the photos of Tina in the MN, she blew a gasket and flipped us both off. And I also remember the time we were all in the Portland vicinity at the same time and were supposed to all meet at the Red Lion In Vancouver. I passed, and kept driving north to Seattle. I think you got stuck with her and her driving almost took you both out. Crazy times.
    > RIP, Jo. We still luv ya.
    > G.

  4. Marla says:

    So what happened to Seattle Adventure Books? R&G House Cleaning? The corporation in WA that was run out of a single room apartment in Auburn, WA. The model and beauty queen Gayla?
    .
    All traded in for a rag-a-muffin looking gal and a starter home in Yakima, WA. Robert has a different car now. Poors cement on the side and plans UFO watches a year in advance. The Ken Christianson hoax ran its course. Skipp Porteous never did meet Bobby. And book sales were in the tank.
    .
    The only thing that didn’t change is that RMB still peddles his fucking lies and bullshit at the DZ. Ask ParrotheadVol. He knows.

    • Gypsy23 says:

      Adventure Books went belly-up. Didn’t you hear? Blevins had to shut it down because they were being sued for defamation and misrepresentation. Under investigation by local authorities too. Gayla pulled the plug and left town. Robert hates working and didn’t want to scrub toilets by himself. All of his little businesses folded. Then, Robert met a homeless woman from last summer’s party and they eloped to Yakima. Where did he get the money for a used SUV and a rambler home? His mom bought it for him. She has always given Robert money. Skipp Porteous didn’t leave Robert anything. He would never even meet with Blevins in person.

      • Marla says:

        Please leave Blevins alone. He and his homely bride look very content out in the wilderness, practicing for a new life of homelessness and aimlessness. Maybe in their travels Robert will take a first-timer’s trip to Tina Bar, a place where most all other Cooper researchers have been, countless times. He might even see a UFO there.😝🤣🤣

      • Marla says:

        The smartest thing I ever did was ignore Robert Blevin’s phoney-ass attempts to hook-up with me after the interview. He pestered me and stalked me on the internet for over a year. I had to finally call the police. I should have never given him an interview. A total creep. Many people told me not to engage with him. Thank you Bruce Smith for letting me post here, away from this miserable stalker. I’m so glad that you and Dave Brown banned him from your sites.

      • Marla says:

        I forgot to mention,
        that I conducted a short interview of my own with Robert Blevins. Two questions:
        #1. Have you ever been to Tina Bar?
        Answer: No.
        #2. Did you ever meet Skipp Porteous in person?
        Answer: No comment.
        End of interview.

      • Marla says:

        We can only hope that Robert Blevins stays missing for a long, long time with his new homeless bride. Gayla must feel completely liberated and free of the DZ’s biggest nutcase.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Interesting about the true nature of the biggest hypocrite at DZ. Blevins has accused Eric Ulis of stalking a lady, with no evidence to support it. Yet, Blevins himself is a stalker. I don’t blame Marla Cooper one bit. She seems nice. Her biggest mistake was to get tied-up with Robert Blevins. Same with Skipp Porteous.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Blevins probably has a couple friends and apologists, who like to engage with him for their own pleasure of stirring up shit at the DZ. We know who they are. They have identified themselves at the DZ. Boring lives matter.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Bruce Smith won’t budge on an extortion attempt by Robert Blevins to sabotage yet another Cooper Con. That’s exactly what Blevins is trying to do ……. again. Blevin’s game to harm others and their good work is known to all. Also, Blevins should issue an apology to both Eric Ulis and Bruce. To Eric, because he falsely claimed that Eric was stalking women at the last Cooper Con. Bruce, because Blevins has no conscience the way he threatens Bruce at every turn.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Big bluff. Big blow. Big bag of wind. RMB scares no one with his girly threats. Marla could kick his ass. We all wish Eric and Bruce the best for a successful CC21.

      • Marla says:

        If he shows up to CC21, you better believe I will.
        In front of everyone!

      • Gypsy23 says:

        It will be worth the price of a $20 ticket just to see Marla KO Blevins. Eric should advertise and set up bookings. Attendance will be out the roof. LOL 😝🤣

      • Marla says:

        Why does Blevins keep company with such ugly women, and brag about it?

      • Gypsy23 says:

        They can’t all be as pretty as you, Marla. But yes,
        Blevin’s tastes are a little odd and he loves showing them off. Not sure why. Why did Gayla finally have enough?

      • Gypsy23 says:

        This just in from the Big Guy. Gayla has signed up for CooperCon21. And, Greg the Techie Guy too. Eric had to put them in the overflow room next to Kiggens Theater. And, Skip Porteous’ widow is flying in, along with Lyle and the Gang.
        They all want autographed copies of Bruce’s new book and a chance to meet the gracious Marla. Wow, what a fun party it’s going to be.

      • Marla says:

        Can’t wait to meet Gayla, and learn all the ……..
        Truth about him.

  5. Gypsy23 says:

    This just in from the Big Guy. Gayla has signed up for CooperCon21. And, Greg the Techie Guy too. Eric had to put them in the overflow room next to Kiggens Theater. And, Skip Porteous’ widow is flying in, along with Lyle and the Gang.
    They all want autographed copies of Bruce’s new book and a chance to meet the gracious Marla. Wow, what a fun party it’s going to be.

    • Marla says:

      So good to have you back on the case, Bruce. I’ll be looking forward to meeting you again in Vancouver, and purchasing a few more autographed copies of your new edition book. Your’s is certainly the best book ever about the Cooper case. While you were gone, a certain individual who posts non-stop drivel about his dull life and laughable camping vacations threatened to invade the CC21 convention. Obviously, he’s extremely jealous of your accomplishments and status with the Cooper case. Everybody already knows him to be the consumate pest and sourpuss in the Cooper World.
      .
      I’ll see you, Eric, and the rest of the gang on the 20th at Kiggens Theater, and during the fantastic afterparties. We are amongst friends.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        Here, here, Marla. So much positivity coming from Cooperites concerning CC21. Eric, Bruce, 377, Marla, Shutter, Darren, and everyone else who is putting their best feet forward to make it a raving success. I’ve heard that local and national media will be there too, getting prepped for international coverage of the 50-year anniversary. Those who criticize CC21 (and we all know who that individual is) has been blocked out from the Mountain News and the Cooper Forum for years. He no longer has anyone to pitch to, except a few who linger on at the DZ. And those people have thoroughly debunked that lone individual as a petty troll with nothing but time on his hands, as well as a foul disposition. May CC21 be the best gathering ever!!!

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