Our wonderful Mom, Josephine Uhlir (known as Jessie to many of her friends) passed away on 18 July at the age of 98. She was much more than the best mother in the world. She was an amazing friend and a well-loved member of her community.
Josephine was passionately involved in the Hacienda Heights Women's Club, Friends of the Library, the Garden Club, and the Oakmont Resident's Council. She had a way of making people feel comfortable and bringing them together for a common goal. She often served as a leader in the organizations she supported. And she was smart beyond belief... She read two newspapers a day (Wall Street Journal and LA Times), subscribed to multiple publications, and more often than not was the winner of trivia contests and knowledge challenges.
Josephine made lasting friendships wherever she went. She had a way of disarming people and befriending new acquaintances, as well as strangers. Many of these friendships continued through her lifetime, as evidenced by a large collection of greeting cards she had received in the last few years that she kept on her credenza. Few people in life are truly kind, and our Mom was definitely one of them.
Mom was born and grew up near Calgary Alberta and was raised with her three sisters, Verona, Kay and Annie and brother Larry, on a farm. When she was in her 20's she joined Kay in Denver, Colorado. She became one of few women not in the secretarial ranks, working for United Airlines. Denver is where she met our Dad, who passed in 2002.
As the family grew to include five children - Anna, Lilian, Peter, John, and Liz - our Mother took on the role of "Super Mom.
Besides being a loving and involved mom,
she inspired her children to be all they could be and guided us to be better people throughout our lives. She took us on outings to museums, the library, parks, beaches, and community events. She encouraged our love of sports and encouraged our growth both in academic environments and in the "school of life." Three of her children, ultimately made trips around the world! And our fun times together as a family continued well into her kids' adulthood. Last December Mom made a trip to Disneyland with her three daughters, and yes, she wore the mouse ears, and rode the rides!
We can hardly imagine life without our Mom. But we are so grateful for the 98 years she lived, where she enriched the life of her family and friends, and anyone who is lucky enough to have met her.
Josephine is survived by her children Anna Kirsch (and husband Bob and daughter Emily), Lilian Vayhinger (and husband Tim), John Uhlir (and wife Candice), Liz Claus (and husband Tommy and sons Parker and Jacob), and her grandchildren Keely Giss and Conor Uhlir, children of her son Peter, who passed in 2017
She will be greatly missed by her brother Larry (and his wife Sharon and his children) and by her several nieces and nephews in Canada. Mom so dearly loved her Canadian family members. She spoke with her brother, Larry weekly, and her nephew, Gary and niece Sharon visited her in California annually. Last year for her 97th birthday she arranged a family reunion in Alberta. My mom loved bringing family together and it is a wonderful memory of our time together, that will last through our lifetimes.
A memorial celebrating our Mom's life is not yet scheduled but will occur in the early fall.