Thank you homey--this was indeed as simple as you said--and your advice helped.
Two more things to keep in mind:
1) I had an ext3 root filesystem and resize2fs does not work on ext3, so after I booted into rescue mode with nothing mounted(choose SKIP), I used tune2fs to revert to ext2:
#tune2fs -O ^has_journal /dev/hda2
2) resize2fs' size parameter is in blocks(4K blocks to be exact), not bytes. So I had to figure out how many blocks were
there(df -k) and then the number I wanted, divided by 4.
3) Don't forget to update fstab, which I did after I finished with fdisk, and reverted /dev/hda2 back to ext3:
#tune2fs -j /dev/hda2
I then mounted /dev/hda2 in a temporary directory and used joe to udpate the file.
Thanks--I hope this helps someone else as much as it helped me!