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Josephine

Josephine Frances Lovejoy

Josephine Frances Lovejoy – Celebrating a Patriot

Josephine F. Lovejoy (90), of Arlington, died peacefully on Monday, March 9, 2020, after a short stay at Brookdale Assisted Living and Hospice. She was a liberated spirit, and a proud American. Her generosity, kindness and love were felt by all who knew her. She fought fiercely to maintain her independence, despite macular degeneration, deafness, and more recently the vascular disease that immobilized her.

A native Washingtonian, Josephine was proud to have been born at the old Sibley Hospital. She was a vibrant and happy person, and the consummate party giver. Everyone was welcome, and everyone came to her affairs. Holidays were an opportunity to celebrate, though she did not need a reason to party. She planned her 90th birthday fete for months, throwing two
parties to make sure everyone could attend—one at the Fort Myers Officers’ Club and the other at Athena Pallas Greek Restaurant—her two favorite places. She dressed for the occasions, wearing a rhinestone tiara and a copper lamé outfit, and was thrilled when Jay Kanefsky entertained guests on the piano.

Josephine’s forty-year career began in 1951, during the Korean War, when Fifth Air Force Headquarters (Yokota Air Base, Japan) allowed Department of the Air Force civilians to volunteer to provide administrative support for their activities in Korea. Josephine was intrigued by the foreign travel adventure, and left from Washington, DC. When she reached Nagoya, Japan, she was unsure she was doing the right thing; however, true to her character, she decided during the flight that even if she were the most miserable person in the world, she would make the best of every situation.

Josephine’s assignment was to provide administrative support to the 3 rd Bomb Wing Headquarters Personnel Office, at Kunsan Air Base Korea, which included the 13th Bomb Squadron (Grim Reapers) B-26’s that were flying dangerous night, ground-attack missions. With her dedication to duty, love of people, and great personality, the friendships she made with the Reapers, under these difficult circumstances, were for life. In 2011, sixty years after her Korean War assignment, Josephine attended her last 13th Bomb Squadron Association Reunion. As a life-time member, she never failed to send in her yearly membership donation in honor of Reapers with whom she had served. (NOTE: The Grim Reapers is a famous flying squadron, established in 1917, and has flown missions in WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and continues today, flying B-2 Stealth Bombers in the Global War On Terror (GWOT) from Whiteman AFB MO.)

In 1952, Josephine left Korea, and completed her overseas assignment at Yokota Air Base (Japan). She returned to Washington DC in 1953, and was employed by the USAF in the Target Division of the Air Force Intelligence Center (AFIC) at Arlington Hall Station. Ten years later, she transitioned when AFIC was re- established as the Production Center for the Defense Intelligence Agency. In 1983, Josephine moved with the Defense Intelligence Analysis Center (DIAC) to Bolling Air Force Base DC, retiring in 1993.

A patriot—as well as a career civil servant who had earned numerous awards for Exceptional Service and Sustained Superior Performance—Josephine actively campaigned for “get out the vote,” stuffed envelopes, made phone calls, walked inaugural parade routes (including President Kennedy’s after an eight-inch snowfall in 20-degree weather), saved programs and ticket stubs from inaugural parties she’d attended over the course of her life—fifteen Presidents since 1929.

After retirement, Josephine lived independently at The Crystal Square apartments, where she amused the staff with her witty and acerbic comments. They in turn helped see to her needs, as Josephine’s eyesight declined. Still, there was one more goal for Josephine, that of researching the genealogy of the Doumar and Lovejoy families—this was before the era of on-line ancestry research sites—but she persevered, writing myriad letters, making innumerable phone queries, and visiting historical archives. She filled boxes of background material, all diligently researched and painstakingly documented, which have been passed to her extended family. She was particularly proud of an article in The Smithsonian magazine that verified her mother’s uncle (Abe Doumar) as the inventor of the first ice cream cone at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition.

Josephine was an only child, and was pre-deceased by her mother and father, Helen (Doumar) Lovejoy and James Bernard Lovejoy. She is survived by her beloved cousin, Gary Lovejoy and partner Jay Kanefsky, of Washington DC, who did so much to help her maintain her independence for as long as possible, before lovingly transitioning her to assisted living. Also, to mourn her death are her cousins in Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina, and Maine: George Doumar, Mary Ann Grooms, Margaret and Larry Walz, and James Grancio, and friends: Mary Lou Sutton, Col Robert L. Butterfield (USAF Ret.) and MaryAnn (Milton) Butterfield, 13th Bomb Squadron Association members, and many more, of no relation, whom she made her own.

No funeral is planned. Josephine chose to be cremated, and will be laid to rest in the Cedar Hill Cemetery, Maryland, beside her parents. A Celebration of Life Party will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Josephine would prefer a donation to the
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind and Prevention of Blindness Society — or a toast to her memory with a dry martini—stirred, not shaken.

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