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Josephine Davidson

DAVIDSON, Josephine "Joey" - Died in her sleep the morning of December 3, 2006, after spending the previous day with four generations of family members. Joey was born in Brooklyn, New York, February 13, 1923, the fifth of six siblings, and moved to Santa Rosa, California as an infant. She graduated from Ursuline High School in Santa Rosa and then from the University of California at Berkeley. At Cal she met her roommate's brother, Peter, whom she married in 1947. An educator, author and columnist, Joey lived in Illinois, the Middle East, New York, California and Texas before moving to Bellingham in 1988. Joey, who contracted polio in 1954, spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. When she wished to return to the classroom in the 1960s, she discovered that it was illegal in the state of California for people with disabilities to teach. She persisted and taught for 23 years in Catholic schools in California and Texas. In Santa Rose, she taught at her alma mater, Ursuline, and received the Distinguished Alumni Award from that school in the 1990s. She also taught at St. Eugene's Catholic School. After she retired, Joey wrote a bestselling middle-school resource book, "Teaching and Dramatizing Greek Myths". She eventually founded her own publishing company, and wrote three more school texts, most notably The Middle School Debater. She worked with friends at her church to compile and publish a large print hymnal and co-authored with Phyllis Shelley "Jesus and People with Disabilities". Joey wrote a column for The Bellingham Herald for a number of years. In her column, she continued to educate and advocate on behalf of people with disabilities. She also served on city and county advisory panels and commissions and helped with the design of public parks and recreational facilities to ensure that they are accessible, comfortable and usable for people with disabilities. Survivors are her husband of 59 years, Peter D. Davidson; son James, his spouse Tamara, their children Jesse, Sarah and Tony; and daughter, Mary H. Mele, her spouse Nicholas, their children Nicco and his spouse Morra, and Peter, his spouse Barbara and their daughter Sophia Josephine. Her brother John McPhee of Moraga, California; her sister, Virginia Shea of Santa Rosa, California; and sister-in-law Helene Jacoby of Boise, Idaho, and their families, also mourn for Joey. There will be a vigil for Joey at Moles Funeral Home, Lakeway Avenue from 7 p.m. Wednesday, December 6; her funeral will be at Assumption Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 7. Joey expressed a wish that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Interfaith Coalition, 2401 Corn- wall Ave. Bellingham, WA 98225.
Published Online in the Press Democrat on Dec. 6, 2006
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