Josephine H. "Grandma Josie" Rzepkowski, 99, of Dunkirk died Sunday morning at her home in Dunkirk where she had lived since the 1940s. The youngest child of Martin and Louise (Jagoda) Mucha, she was born in Dunkirk on Feb. 7, 1916 and lived in Dunkirk all her life. On May 20, 1939 she married Michael R. Rzepkowski, Jr. He passed away on Nov. 8, 1995. She is survived by her three children: Ronald (Marian) Rzepkowski of Charleston, S.C., Louise Trudnowski of Dunkirk, and Diane (Peter) Chodan of Dunkirk; four grandchildren: Cindy Rzepkowski of Ormond Beach, Fla.; Ronald (Debra) Rzepkowski, Jr. of West Columbia, S.C., Kathy Rzepkowski of Wheeling, W.Va; and Anneke (John) Chodan of Cohoes, N.Y. and her sisterinlaw, Esther Rzepkowski. Eight great grandchildren, two great great grandchildren, a niece and several nephews as well as great nieces, nephews and great great nieces and nephews also survive. In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by four brothers: John (Alice), Stanley, Michael (Ella) and Joseph; a sister, Mary (Edward) Schultz; many brothers and sisters-in-law, a son-in-law, William Trudnowski, and a special niece, Wendy Vosper. In her younger years, Josie was employed by Van Raalte as a sewing instructor. Prior to the use of mechanical grape harvesters, she looked forward to hand harvesting grapes each fall with her friends. In the vineyard, the ladies listened to polkas and the World Series on portable radios. A talented homemaker, she was known for her pierogi, golabki, potato salad, and yeast coffee cakes. Several years ago, she announced her retirement but occasionally came out of retirement to provide instruction and assistance. She was a member of Blessed Mary Angela Parish (St. Hedwig's church) and its Rosary Society, a member of the Kosciuszko Club and a former member and officer of the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Ladies' Auxiliary. During her children's school years, she was an officer and active member of the Mothers' Club at School 6, willingly cooking and handing out hot dogs at the annual school picnic. In her youth, Josie played third base for the girls' softball team, the Rinky Dinks, sponsored by the First Ward Falcon Club. In later years, she was called "the sports grandma" because she followed and understood baseball, tennis, hockey, football and figure skating. She was a fan of the Sabres, the Buffalo Bills and ABY (Anybody But the Yankees). She enjoyed weekly Bingo at St. Hedwig's social center with her daughter, Louise, and was well-known there. She enjoyed playing pinochle, but disliked "playing for blood." A gifted mother, most young children were attracted to her. She was known by many for her lovely smile, calm attitude, and occasional feisty comment. Friends and relatives are invited to call today between 2 to 4 p.m. or 7 to 9 p.m. at R. Mackowiak Funeral Home 56 E. Doughty St., Dunkirk. The Ladies of the Rosary Society will say the rosary Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the funeral home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. Hedwig's Church. Memorials may be made to a charity of one's choice.
Thursday, May 21, 2015 10:00Am
Blessed Mary Angela Parish Church of St. Hedwig Doughty Street, Dunkirk, New York
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm
R. Mackowiak Funeral Home, Inc. 56 East Doughty Street, Dunkirk, New York