Remembering Janice Josephson

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Janice Josephson

Janice Josephson, a resident of Great Neck for more than 60 years, passed away peacefully in her home on April 22, 2020.  She was 96 years old. 

Janice was in many ways a woman ahead of her times, successfully balancing a richly rewarding family life with deeply satisfying professional and volunteer work. She cherished her long and loving marriage to Charles, was a devoted daughter, sister and aunt, treasured her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and became the beloved center of her extended family. But she wanted and achieved more. As a young woman in the early 1940’s, she dropped out of the NYU journalism school to become a real journalist, writing feature stories and a column for The New York Mirror.  The column, “Here’s New York, Bud” was sent to servicemen away fighting the war. She happily left her dream job to begin her family, but even then found time to edit a community bulletin, work with the National Council of Jewish Women and volunteer for developmentally disabled children.

After moving to Great Neck and settling her youngest in school, she worked part-time doing community relations for the local Gertz Department store branch which had just opened. The job became full-time and she ultimately became fashion director for the Gertz chain. Looking for a new challenge, she persuaded the leadership of the innovative and newly opened Jewish Institute for Geriatric Care (now the Parker Institute) that they needed her to do community and press relations. Janice stayed in that job, steadily adding new responsibilities including directing the volunteer program, until her grandchildren started coming along. To spend more time with them, she shifted gears to volunteer work, becoming a docent at the Nassau County Museum and serving on various boards including the local library and UJA. And she once again made herself indispensable by teaching English and designing a civics class for recent immigrants through the Great Neck Adult Education program. She was so effective that when she was well into her eighties, the program offered to hire her in a paid capacity.  She politely (and amusedly) declined the job offer but kept teaching as a volunteer, positively impacting the lives of many dozens of newcomers to the US.  She has, in short, been and continues to be an inspiration to all who knew and loved her.

Janice Josephson is survived by her three children, Ken Josephson of Peoria, AZ, Ellen Vargyas of Washington DC and Warren Josephson of Short Hills, NJ, her daughters-in-law Susan Josephson and Jill Brenner, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren. Her husband of 64 years, Charles, passed away in 2010. Because of the current health crisis, the family sadly cannot conduct a funeral or otherwise gather at this time. They ask that condolences be sent to her daughter Ellen at ejvarg@gmail.com and that any donations be made to the Northwell Health Hospice Care Network at www.hospicecarenetwork.org/donate-now/.  

Submitted by Ellen Vargyas

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