Josephine Frances Piernikoski Stoddard
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September 19, 1928 – September 16, 2020
Josephine Frances Stoddard was a devoted wife and loving daughter, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She died peacefully of natural causes on September 16, 2020, just three days shy of her 92nd birthday. Josephine passed away at Gwynedd Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Lansdale, PA, her home since 2016 after residing for more than 50 years in Huntingdon Valley, PA and a decade in Horsham, PA. She was predeceased by her beloved husband of 61 years, Richard Hunt Stoddard, in 2015.
Josephine was known by “Josie” or “Jo” to her friends and family. She had a great and infectious love of life, a dazzling smile, and a hearty laugh. She dedicated her life to nurturing her husband, children, and grandchildren; providing a warm and gracious home for all her family; and helping every generation that followed her understand their Polish heritage and treasure the times that family and friends enjoy together. A cherished and only child, she also warmly welcomed her aging parents into her family’s home for many lovingly memorable years.
As a beautiful young woman growing up in southwest Philadelphia’s Polish-American neighborhood in the 1930s and ’40s, she swooned for Frank Sinatra, loved dancing the polka and jitterbug, and was passionate about socializing with her friends. She was particularly proud of her employment at the University of Pennsylvania as an administrative assistant for first generation computer engineers in the late 1940s. She used her finely tuned typing, stenography, and bookkeeping skills in several other fulltime and part-time administrative jobs in the Philadelphia suburbs, including supporting her husband’s general contracting business in Abington, PA, in the 1960s and ’70s.
Following her September 1953 wedding with Richard Stoddard at St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church in southwest Philadelphia, Jo and “Dick” lived in Drexel Hill, PA, for several years until building and occupying their dream home, a sprawling ranch house on two acres in Huntingdon Valley, PA.
Josephine gave birth to six children from 1954 to 1967. While raising a family, she was the epitome of the suburban homemaker, dashing from pillar to post to transport her children to and from their athletic, musical, social, recreational, and church activities; preparing and serving several meals each day; hosting friends and guests on weekends and holidays throughout the year; frequently shopping for clothing and other essentials at her favorite Philadelphia-area department stores such as Strawbridge & Clothier, John Wanamaker, Gimbels, Lord & Taylor, Lit Brothers, and Sears; running out on weekends for a quiet meal with Dick at Inn Flight on Old York Road in Abington; and actively participating in the Parent Teacher Associations at Overlook Elementary School, Huntingdon Junior High School, and Abington High School.
The child of Violet and Joseph Piernikoski of Elmwood Avenue in southwest Philadelphia, Josephine was born and raised in the City of Brotherly Love and graduated from John Bartram High School. She played the accordion as a child – just as her father, Joseph, had done – and she often regaled friends and family with performances of polkas and classic American songs throughout her life.
As a young mother and adult, Josephine was a dedicated bridge player and belonged to several bridge clubs in Huntingdon Valley. She and her family were loyal parishioners at Our Lady Help of Christians in Abington. She served for many years on the Women’s Board of Abington Hospital, where she and Dick co-chaired June Fete and helped lead a wide variety of other community events over the span of three decades. She enthusiastically dove into whatever fundraising activity was called for, from helping manage all of the carnival games at the fair one year, to cooking and slicing oversized pieces of pizza other years, to hosting and serving festive drinks at the annual Christmas Tree Party.
Jo and Dick also loved hosting their own large holiday parties, outdoor picnics, and other events for friends, neighbors, and family at their spacious Huntingdon Valley home. Jo enjoyed ordering and serving the elegant tea sandwiches from the Women’s Exchange in Jenkintown and was passionate about shopping at the Moreland Shop in Abington for unique trinkets and holiday decorations still treasured today by her family and friends. She and Dick traveled widely across the United States. They treasured their annual summer vacations with children and grandchildren in Wildwood, NJ, visited national parks and the cities of the American West, and visited children and grandchildren at college sites and homes throughout the country in places such as Washington, DC; Allentown, PA; Tampa, FL; Beverly, MA; New Orleans, LA; Baltimore, MD; Morgantown, WV; Dillsburg, PA; Atlanta, GA; and Seaside Park, NJ.
Jo was true to her Philadelphia upbringing with a fondness for all things Tastykake, soft pretzels with mustard, over-stuffed Italian hoagies, hot dogs with the works, Italian water ice, Breyer’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (never chocolate!), rich pound cake, and German and Italian pastries from great bakeries in Huntingdon Valley and Willow Grove. Jo suffered gladly her husband’s obsession with Philadelphia sports teams (ones usually with losing records) and rooted particularly for the Eagles and Phillies. She also strived to keep her mind sharp and enjoyed doing battle with the daily New York Times crossword puzzle.
Josephine is survived by her children, Robert Stoddard and his wife Barbra of Bethesda, MD; Thomas Stoddard and his wife Marie of Dillsburg, PA; Frances Denson and her husband Don of Cumming, GA; Joseph Stoddard of Boca Raton, FL; Susan Stoddard of Palm Harbor, FL; and Janice Moore and her husband Michael of Horsham, PA. She was the proud grandmother of 11 grandchildren: Rick Stoddard, the late Kevin Stoddard, Stephen Stoddard, the late Andrea Stoddard, John Washington, Lauren Moore, Joseph Moore, Sarah Moore, Megan Minor, Matthew Dunkin, and Lily Dunkin. She is further survived by five great-grandchildren: her namesake Josephine Stoddard, James Stoddard, Jack Stoddard, Jackson Minor, and Evelyn Biss.
In light of coronavirus restrictions, the family will hold private funeral services. In lieu of flowers or other tributes, memorial donations may be made in Jo’s name to the Abington Health Foundation Women’s Board, 1200 Old York Rd., Abington, PA 19001.