Josephine M. Young

Josephine M. Young

March 10, 1919 - February 01, 2014

Josephine M. Young

March 10, 1919 - February 01, 2014


Josephine Mary Young was born on March 10, 1919, and died peacefully on February 1, 2014, at the age of 94. She lived in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. Josephine was a beloved daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Her grandchildren affectionately called her Busia, the Polish equivalent of Grandma.

Josephine was born in Nokomis, Illinois, a small coal-mining town. Her parents, Sophie Obloj and Joseph Swed were Polish immigrants who arrived separately in America around 1910. They each came looking for opportunity, leaving their families in Poland. The growing family of Josephine and her two older brothers, Carl and Ted, and her older sister, Elizabeth moved to a number of small coal-mining towns following the work. Josephine remembered waiting each evening for her father to arrive home from the coal mine with his face and hands black from coal dust, with his lunch pail in one hand and the largest lump of coal he could carry on his shoulder to keep them warm. The mines closed for good and the family moved to the Polish neighborhood in Chicago. Her mother ran a small grocery store and a boarding house and her father found work as a gardener at the Polish cemetery. Her mother, Sophie, was known in the neighborhood for her excellent beer and she saw no reason to stop making it during Prohibition – and the local policemen were her customers, too. It was one of Josephine’s chores to wash the beer bottles which she dreaded doing because she was afraid of her mother’s barrels of fermenting sauerkraut in the basement’s dark corner. The barrels would hiss and moan with escaping gas. While life for her family was hard, especially through the Depression, Josephine had many fond memories of her childhood and of growing up Polish in America. She loved school and reading and was the first person in her family to go to college.

Josephine attended the University of Illinois in Champaign, where she met her husband of 39 years, George Allen Young. They were both working their way through college and met on a blind date set up by friends. Allen said it truly was a blind date, because neither of them wore their glasses. They were attracted to each other’s honesty and good humor. Allen enlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor and on April 4, 1942, they were married at his parent’s home in Glasgow, Illinois. Allen’s family had been small farmers from the time of the American Revolution, so it was a marriage of two threads of America – the immigrant and the small farmer. Both believed in hard work, education and economic opportunity. When Josephine’s mother met Allen, she had doubts about this college boy, until he rose earlier than her the next morning and milked the cows.

When World War II started, Allen was posted to the Naval Shipyards in Boston and Josephine went with him. When he left for the South Pacific, where he spent the war as a SeaBee, she returned to Chicago where her family was and worked inking linen blueprints for the war effort. After the war, Josephine and Allen lost no time in contributing to the post war Baby Boom. Joe was born in 1946, Steve in 1951, Mary in 1954 and Paul in 1957.

Josephine devoted her life to being a wife and raising her children. She was always involved in their lives – helping with homework, making Halloween costumes, and being a scout leader, Sunday school teacher and school board member. She loved reading to her children and telling them stories about her childhood and stories of her own invention. She was a creative person with a lifelong interest in art.

Allen’s career required many moves, as he worked on his PhD in Civil Engineering and moved up the ladder as a college professor. Josephine packed up the family goods each time, as they went from Champaign, to California, to New Mexico, to Michigan and finally back to California. Houghton, Michigan, became the family’s most loved hometown. It was a beautiful land of lakes and snow. Houghton was just the right size to be part of the school and church and feel at home. Josephine said it looked like a Grandma Moses painting.

In 1969 Allen left teaching to become a professional engineering consultant. They bought a house in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Mary and Paul were in high school and middle school and Josephine began a successful thirty year career in real estate. She worked for a number of real estate companies on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Allen died in 1981. Josephine’s children were grown. She returned to her love of art and took classes at the community college in drawing and painting. She joined a pastel portrait group that met on Saturday mornings for many years. She has left many paintings to her children and grandchildren. She also became an ocean swimmer for exercise.

Josephine also spent many hours and much love as Busia to her grandchildren, Aaron, Greg, Laurel, Andrew, Allen, Chris, Kevin and Philip. Josephine is also survived by her sons, Joseph and Steve; her daughter, Mary Mulvihill; her daughters-in-law, Carolyn, Diann and Debbie; and her great-granddaughters, Debbie and Josephine Mahrie.

Donations may be made to the World Wildlife Fund

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3 responses to Josephine M. Young

  1. Joe Young says:

    5 files added to the tribute wall

  2. You are my sunshine my only sunshine you make me when sky’s are grey you never know dear how much I love you so please don’t take my sunshine away…

  3. Everyday I walked in the door to her room, she’d look at me with a smile, and say, “I remember you”…that always made my day better…

    The Speech Therapist always said that Jo-Jo would get better and teach her husband how to dance after they go for an in-and-out burger…

    She would love to bump around when I sang our song…”You are my sunshine”…everyday we made each other laugh and sing until the very end…

    Jo-Jo is the strongest person I know…she battled every pain and laughed at everything…she was my rock to keep pushing everyday…

    I hope all is well for her amazing family who I had the honor to meet in this hard period in their lives…I love them all and hope God treats them well through this process…


    Christine Borossay

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