STONITSCH, Josephine T., died peacefully in her sleep on February 24, 2021. She was born December 11, 1914 in Chicago Heights, Ill. to Joseph Anthony Smith and Clara Alice Masters. She was married to the late Harold John Stonitsch. Jo grew up in Chicago Heights with her eight siblings, and recently she triumphantly declared that she was "the last of the Mohicans," having outlived all her siblings. Her life was centered around her love for her family and her dedication to her Catholic faith. She was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Richmond, Va. and a resident of Henrico County for the past 11 years. Prior to that, she lived in Crystal River, Fla. and was a founding member of St. Scholastica Parish in Lecanto, Fla., a school aide at St. John Paul II Catholic School also in Lecanto and a member of The Benedictine Oblates. When she lived in Orlando, Fla., she was the secretary of Good Shepherd Parish and taught religion there for 18 years. It was there in Orlando where Jo and Harold raised five children, the late Harold William Stonitsch, Mary Jo Zkiab, Joseph James Stonitsch, Clenise White and Rita Lepinskie. She is survived by seven grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren, and was predeceased by one grandchild. Jo was a veteran of World War II and served as one of the first WAACS who enlisted from the Chicago Heights area. She was in the Women's Army Corps for three and a half years and rose to the rank of Sergeant. Jo was looked upon as a mother to many besides her own children. Many adopted her as their mother wherever she lived, and she was called Mom, Mama Jo, Mom #3, Momma Stonitsch and many other endearing names. She often said: "I preach love" and that was certainly true. She was known for her quick wit and sometimes blunt honesty which made her even more lovable.
She loved to work crosswords puzzles throughout her entire life, and even won a competition run by the newspaper in Chicago Heights as a youngster. Besides family and friends, others who didn't even know her would save up crossword puzzles to mail to her, and she kept up with writing to family and friends on a weekly basis throughout her lifetime. She learned how to text on her iPhone in recent years and spent time communicating daily with her children on her GrandPad, determined to use emojis as often as possible! Writing, crocheting, reading and praying were her longtime companions, as was watching daily Mass in her later years. She was a constant and loyal friend to her family and to so many others who saw her as a truly remarkable 106 year old.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to her parish, St. Mary's Catholic Church (Human Concerns & Social Justice Ministry), 9505 Gayton Rd., Richmond, Va. 23229 or to a charity of your choice
. Chas E. Davis Funeral Home with Crematory, Inverness, Fla., in charge of Florida arrangements.
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Published by Richmond Times-Dispatch on Mar. 2, 2021.