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JOSEPHINE FRANCES STEMEROWICZ 1932 - 2012 With family by her side, Josephine Frances Stemerowicz passed away on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at the Lake of the Woods District Hospital. Josephine was born August 1, 1932 in Norman, a village of Kenora, Ontario to parents Michael and Zofia. She was the second child in a close-knit family of five children. Although she came from humble beginnings, she, along with her siblings, learned the meaning of hard work, integrity, respect and family; principles by which she lived her entire life. From very early on it was clear that Josephine was destined to be an educator. Besides having a natural joy of learning and teaching, she never missed a day of school. She attended West Ward, North Ward and Kenora High Schools prior to studying at teacher's college at the North Bay Normal School. She received a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario and both a Bachelor's and Master's of Education from the University of Toronto (OISE). Josephine's career spanned 36 years, teaching in Madsen, Dryden and Kenora, Ontario. During the latter part of her career, she served as principal of Pinecrest and Evergreen schools. Throughout all of those years, students and staff were always foremost with Josephine and she was counted as both mentor and friend by many. Josephine was called to serve on several administrative boards including the Federation of Women Teachers' Association of Ontario (FWTO) and was the treasurer of the Ontario Teachers' Superannuation Committee. She was a member of the Ontario Mathematics Commission and an advisor to the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University. She was also an active member of the Retired Teachers of Ontario, Retired Women Teachers of Ontario, and was a lifetime member of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario. In addition to her numerous activities to support teachers and education in Ontario, Josephine completed countless hours of volunteer service for local organizations and community groups. Josephine travelled extensively throughout Canada and Europe. She loved the performing arts and was a long-time attendee and supporter of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Manitoba Opera and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. She loved to read, do crossword puzzles, collect stamps and was often found in the garden tending to her favourite flowers: gladiolas and dahlias. Her friends, many of whom called her Josie, knew that she always had time to talk and was a trustworthy and compassionate individual. Fiercely proud of her Polish heritage, she even completed courses at the University of Manitoba to learn to write letters in Polish to send to family in the old country. She enjoyed attending formal events and in keeping family and cultural traditions alive at home. During her later years, Josephine became interested in genealogy and was able to trace her family's heritage back several generations. She also became a volunteer at the Manitoba Genealogical Society and assisted others in researching their ancestry. Josephine was devoted to her family. She grew up, worked, travelled and lived with her sister Helen most of her life. One was not usually seen without the other. She was dearly loved by all her family, but especially by her niece and nephew who were inspired by her joy of learning, her commitment to community and her wide range of interests. Getting expert assistance on homework assignments, helping Aunt Jo prepare her school classrooms for the fall session and eating her famous cheesecakes are especially fond memories. Josephine was predeceased by her father Michael, mother Zofia and brother, Anthony. She is survived by her sisters Helen and Antoinette (Everette) Carpenter, brother Frank, nephew Michael (Sandra) Carpenter, niece Dana (Ron) Smith to whom she was godmother, great-nephews Benjamin, Nathan, Thomas and William Smith and great-niece Maggie Carpenter as well as family across Canada and in Poland. Special thanks are extended to the people from CancerCare and the Lake of the Woods District Hospital as well as numerous friends and colleagues for their care and concern. Service will be held Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Keewatin, Ontario. Interment at Lake of the Woods Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Josephine's memory to any local Kenora charity. Niechaj spoczywa w pokoju Panskim (May she rest in the peace of the Lord)
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on June 16, 2012
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