CUT BANK - Josephine Marie McDermott, 97, long-time Cut Bank resident and elementary teacher, died of natural causes Sunday, June 19, at Northern Rockies Medical Center in Cut Bank.
Visitation is 1 p.m to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Whitted Funeral Chapel, followed by a rosary/vigil service 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Margaret Catholic Church in Cut Bank. The funeral mass is 11:30 a.m. Thursday, also at St. Margaret Catholic Church, followed by a reception in the fellowship hall. Whitted Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Josephine McDermott died peacefully surrounded by loving family and friends on June 19. Fr. Michael Drury and the Most Reverend George Leo Thomas will be presiding at the funeral mass, 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Josephine's ashes will be inurned at a private ceremony at the Crown Hill Cemetery at a later date.
Josephine was born May 15, 1914 to Joseph and Mary (Hauzner) McDermott in Chinook. She grew up in the Zurich area. She graduated from Harlem High School and attended Northern Montana College and The College of Great Falls, earning her teaching degree. She began her 44-year career in 1936, instructing in several Blaine County country schools. After her father's death in 1939, she moved back to Harlem in order to support her mother and help raise her young sister, Donna. Josephine taught first grade at Lincoln Grade School in Harlem. In 1963, Josephine and her mother moved to Cut Bank. She spent the rest of her professional career teaching kindergarten at Southside Elementary School, until her retirement in 1980. She enjoyed her retirement years, serving others, including volunteering at the Cut Bank Food Pantry and being actively involved in the St. Margaret Catholic Parish.
She was a long-time member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Rho Chapter. She enjoyed several hobbies, to include learning sign language, swimming, rock collecting, crocheting, doing word jumbles, and caring for her beloved cat, Silky.
She loved people and enjoyed visits with friends. She made everyone feel special, including her former students, whom she often fondly reflected with special memories and stories. She cherished the community of Cut Bank, and in recent years received several awards, including being honored as Grand Master of the Lewis and Clark Parade and 2011 Cut Bank Citizen of the Year.
Even though Josephine never married or had children of her own, she will be greatly missed by her surviving family including her sister and brother-in-law, Donna and Robert Greytak of Gildford; her sister-in-law, Margaret McDermott of Dallas; her nieces, Susan and Mary Elizabeth McDermott of Dallas, Texas; Jean (Gary) Dale of Missoula; Barbara (Bill) Carroll of Helena; Nancy (Ken) Wells of Clarksville, Tenn., Anita (Jim) Dunnigan of Libby, and Laurie (Mike) Fox of Wolf Point; her nephews, Joe (Tami) Greytak and Gary (Diana) Greytak of Havre and Tim Greytak of Gildford; and 13 great-nieces and nephews.
Josephine was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, John McDermott; and her sister, Sybil Hauzner.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cut Bank Food Pantry, St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Cut Bank, or a charity of your choice.
When interviewed by the local Cut Bank paper, Josephine described her life as an incredible ride from the very beginning. It's been full of wonderful surprises, tremendous blessings and has been made complete by a loving family, good friends, and a career she loved so very much.
Condolences may be posted online at www.whittedfuneralchapel.com
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Published by Great Falls Tribune on Jun. 21, 2011.