Paramus, NJ – Our dear Mom & Nan departed this earth early Monday morning January 10, 2022 with her daughters Claudia & Lisa by her side.
The story of Josephine is unique & very exciting. Born in London, England on May 8, 1922 to James & Jessica McInness, she would grow into the most caring, dedicated person over her 99 1/2 years Her early days with her 4 siblings were happy & spent with many loving relatives. The world changed dramatically in 1939 with the bombing of England, specifically London. Josephine, like most of her fellow “Brits” worked tirelessly volunteering her services to keep her friends & family safe. She was “Helping the cause”. Whether it was to bring supplies down to the bomb shelters, or drinks & blankets, she was right there night after night. In September 1940 England declared war on Germany after they had taken over Poland Her true dedication to “Jolly Old England”, was when she volunteered to join the British Army upon hearing Prime Minister Winston Churchill urge every man, woman, & child to do their part. Josephine was sent to Windsor England, where she worked along side then Princess Elizabeth. While at Windsor she met Capt Charles Vitarius (US Army) He was in the Signal Corps, she was in the planning room in the War Office The weekly dances & camaraderie helped all the soldiers in their most troubling times. Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945. (a fitting tribute to Josephine) Charles & Josephine were married on July 24, 1945 with Charles best friend Fred Davis at his side. They had been in the 926 Signal unit together. Fred would later marry Josephine’s friend Rowena(Ronnie) Ronnie & Josephine remained life long friends well into their 90’s.
Josephine’s next adventure brought her to America, specifically the Bronx, NY to meet & ultimately live with Charles family awaiting his return. He was transferred to Washington DC, where daughter Karolyn was born in 1947. His next assignment took them to Ft Monmouth, NJ, where in 1953 daughter Claudia was born & in 1956 daughter Lisa was born. The next assignment was to Poitiers, France, followed by Pirmasens, Germany. Charles retired as Lt Colonel in 1962 &was transferred back to the states, ultimately, back to the Bronx. Life as a military wife paved the way for her to be the independent, strong person she was. Charles was many times off on assignment in some far away place ( S Africa, Iran, Vietnam,) safety seminars in Buffalo or Chicago,
Being a MOM was her most rewarding job (until grandchildren came along many years later). Her outgoing nature, love of being with people, (young & old) made it easy for people to want to spend time with her. Our yards were always the focal point for our friends, because Josephine served tea & biscuits. Our toys & dolls always seemed more special, they weren’t, she was!! Karolyn met her future husband Alfred Roth (Freddie to us,) right up the block from us They were married in 1970 & welcomed 3 children. Stephen (born on July 4th, 1976) (Sara), Suzy Blais(Andre), & Andrew (Erin) giving Josephine her next title..”NAN”. That was the name she was known as until she passed away.
Claudia married Gene Raffa in 1974. Lisa married Dick Van Edsinga in 1982. 3 more grandchildren, Richard (Bojana) & twin sons, Eric & Russell were born.
Josephine spent summers with her “darlings” at our lake house in Mayfield, NY on the Great Sacandaga Lake. It became a year round family gathering place where memories continue to be made, resulting in Andrew moving up there in 2004, making Mayfield his home Charles sadly passed away in 2008, between the birth of their 1st & 2nd great grandchildren
Ruby Josephine Blais was born 7/19/2008, Collin(Cubby) Roth 7/26/2008, Riley Roth 4/29/2010, followed by Henry Roth 7/31/2011, Pfeiffer Blais 12/13/2011, & Beatrice Roth 11/30/2013 Josephine was found cheering at football, soccer, baseball, & basketball games, lacrosse, gymnastic, & rugby matches. Craft fairs in the fall, trips to pumpkin patches & apple orchards, lengthy stays in CT, to the zoo, duck ponds, the Jersey shore, most often, Ocean Grove & Asbury Park..all around the town. She just needed her trusty walker, or a shopping cart, & off we went.
The 2nd loss for Josephine was when Karolyn passed away in 2014. She philosophically told us that Karolyn was in a better place, and would live in her “always”.
An untimely fall Christmas Eve 2018 changed her way of life, but not her spirit. In the nice weather, she would be found sitting at her front door watching the cars & people go by, whistling to the birds gathered around the bird feeder. Squirrels, chipmunks, & bunnies were her new friends.. COVID changed so many things for everyone, but a special 98th birthday “drive by” was done to honor her. The outpouring of friends & family that came to celebrate her was beautiful. Thanks to the Ridgewood Police Dept Summer 2021, Josephine grew tired, more frail. In November she was moved to Sunrise Senior Living of Paramus, where she lived comfortably until her passing January 10th Even there for only a short time, she left her mark…Her bright blue eyes, her smile, her sassiness.. All unique to Josephine (MOM/NAN)..now an Angel
She will be missed by all. The lives she touched over these 99 years, is amazing & a true blessing. SHE WAS THE BEST MOM, THE BEST NAN..a special gift..Gone, but certainly never forgotten (GO TO SLEEP OUR BABY, close your pretty (blue) eyes).
Family and friends can visit Sunday January 16th between 1 & 4 at CC Van Emburgh Funeral Home, Ridgewood, NJ. A service for Josephine will be held at the funeral home Monday January 17th at 10 a.m. followed by interment at GW Cemetery Paramus, NJ at 11:45
While flowers are appreciated, donations in Josephine’s name can be made to either Valley Hospice, 15 Essex Street, Paramus NJ or to local EMT & First Responders.