Josephine Lena Wewers passed away peacefully on July 28, 2016 just two weeks after turning 98 years old. She was born on July 14, 1918, in Paris, Arkansas, the third daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Epp) Schmalz.
She attended St. Joseph Grade School and graduated valedictorian from eighth grade. She never attended high school because the walk from the farm was 10 miles. She regaled her grandchildren with stories about the chores she and her 13 brothers and sisters had to do before and after school. The chore she hated most? Picking cotton. She talked about how during the Depression families came out to see them from the city and her father, always referred to as "Daddy," would gather meat from the smokehouse. No one left the farm without food to help them get through a difficult time. She was known for having the most beautiful skin. Her secret? Her mother never let the girls go outside without a wide brimmed hat and long sleeves to shelter them from the blazing sun. Although Josephine loved the farm, when her grandchildren asked her if she'd want to do it again, she usually laughed and said, "I'm grateful for the experience, but it was so much work!"
No one left Josephine's table hungry. From her famous thinly sliced coleslaw, pickled okra, and homemade ice cream to the Christmas cookie trays she started baking a month before the holidays, Josephine usually asked you a few times, "Are you sure that's all you want?"
She met her beloved husband, Frank Joseph Wewers, at a church picnic when he saw her and asked a mutual friend to introduce them. After marrying they moved to Kansas City, Kansas, and had three boys, Frank, Robert, and Eugene. She was a devoted mother.
Josephine went to work the evening shift as a seamstress at Simmons Co, once "all of her boys" were in school and retired 29 years later. She was a loyal Democrat and taught her grandchildren not to cross picket lines. She told stories of the Wonder Bread truck drivers who, after their shift, would drive down to hand out bread to those on strike. She always expressed her concern for "working people," and would watch the news, read the paper, and talk about how hard it was for families to make ends meet.
In 1967, Gene, her youngest son, died of a heart condition when he was 17 years old. Just a few years later in 1974, her husband, Frank, passed away. Although her heart was broken, Josephine stayed busy cooking, cleaning, and caring for so many of her family and friends. Josephine was quick witted and aged with grace and laughter.
Josephine's Catholic faith was deeply important to her. She attended daily mass when she could. Every time a new priest was welcomed to Christ the King she brought cinnamon rolls that usually ended up as a favorite request going forward. She was a member of the Altar Society, St. Rose Circle, and Go-Getters. She was a former Eucharistic minister. After retirement she traveled to Medjugorje, Rome, and Jerusalem. The only travels outside of the States were places central to her faith.
She was predeceased by her parents, John and Elizabeth Schmalz, as well as the following siblings - Rose, Julia, Mildred, Herman, Norman, and Simon. Josephine was also predeceased by her husband Frank, sons Gene and Robert, and daughter-in-law Karen. She is survived by her siblings Leona, Loretta, Betty, Robert, Charles, James and Larry. And her son, Frank John, and daughter-in-law, Helen. Grandchildren John (Cora Belt), Jeff (Teresa McDaniels), Jennifer, David, and Ryan Wewers as well as great grandchild Max McKnight.
Visitation will be from 6 pm - 8 pm at Butler Meyers Funeral Home, 6300 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, KS, on Thursday, August 4th, with remarks at 7 pm. Funeral Mass at 10 am on Friday, August 5th, at Christ the King Catholic Church, Kansas City, KS, with burial at Mount Calvary Cemetery. A luncheon will follow in Fr. Davern Hall at the church. We express our deepest gratitude for her Atriums family who took such loving care of Josephine and the staff of Kansas City Hospice, who in Josephine's words "did so much for me." She requested donations to Christ the King Church, 3024 N. 53 Street, KC, KS 66104 or Kansas City Hospice, 1500 Meadow Lake Parkway, Suite 200, KC, MO 64114.
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Arrangements: Butler Meyers Funeral Home 913-334-6300.