Shemkus, Josephine R.

September 13th, 2011
Josephine Regina Shemkus, a proud mother, doting grandmother, and all-around sassy lady, died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, September 13, 2011. She was 91.
Born in Chelsea in 1920 to Polish immigrants, Josephine Cusky was raised in Medford, the youngest of 11 children. In the stories she told of her childhood, she was a mischievous girl, prone to sneaking cigarettes and going on long, adventurous walks with her sister.
Josephine met future husband John Shemkus when they both worked for the Worcester Paper Box Co. in Medford and he insisted on helping Josephine with her work. They were married in 1940; John passed away in 1970.
A resident of Wilmington for more than 60 years, Josephine was actively involved in the Wilmington Senior Center.
Josephine will be remembered by her family and friends for her kindness, her sense of humor and her independence.
She loved to crochet and took delight in creating blankets, hats and sweaters for family, charitable causes, and even the children of her caretakers. Her grandchildren were very important to her and she never missed an opportunity to brag about their achievements. Wherever she went, Josephine was described by those who met her as “cute.”
Josephine laughed with ease, happy to tease her loved ones and take her share of ribbing in return. She was not above telling an off-color joke or throwing a Lady Gaga reference into her repartee.
Proud of her independence, Josephine lived alone until well after her 91st birthday.
She is survived by daughter Jacqueline Fitzgerald and her husband David, of Haverhill; son John Shemkus and his wife Fran, of Reading; grandson Jason Fitzgerald, of St. Charles, Mo.; granddaughter Sarah Shemkus and her fiancé Patrick Good, of West Harwich; granddaughter Rachel Long, her husband Scott, of Woburn, and their soon-to-be-born child, who Josephine was eager to meet; granddaughter Megan Fitzgerald, of Haverhill; grandson John Fitzgerald, of Haverhill; and four great-grandchildren.
Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Monday, September 19th at 9:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m. Interment to follow in the family lot at Wildwood Cemetery, Wilmington. Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, September 18th from 3-7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to VNA of Middlesex East, 607 North Ave., Suite 17, Wakefield, MA 01880.

2 Entries in Guest Book for “Shemkus, Josephine R.”

  1. Lisa Kennedy-Cox says:

    To John and the Shemkus family. So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing, but happy to see she lived a long and colorful life. She was a positive person and so funny. My sympathies.

    Lisa Kennedy-Cox

  2. Kevin Douglas says:

    Dear family, I am sorry for your loss. May each of you find comfort in knowing that God is “near to those that are broken at heart ;and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.”(Psalms 34;18)

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