Josephine Grace Kmak “Jo” (Age 92)
On Monday, June 28, 2021, Josephine Grace Kmak, formerly of Gaithersburg, MD and Scotch Plains, NJ, passed away in the presence of her devoted four daughters in Bethesda, MD following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Beloved wife of the late Dr. Walter Steven Kmak of Scotch Plains, NJ, daughter of the late Christopher and Benedetta Cavuoto of Yonkers, NY; loving mother of Dr. Leslie Ball of N. Bethesda, MD, Laurie Kruhoeffer of Excelsior, MN, Karyn Ryan of Great Falls, VA, and Diane Wright of Montgomery County, MD.
Josephine was born on January 29, 1929 in Yonkers, NY and graduated in 1946 from Charles E. Gorton High School in Yonkers. In 1950, Josephine earned a BA in Education from the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Riverdale, NY and continued graduate studies at SUNY New Paltz. She began her teaching career in the Yonkers school system.
Josephine married Walter, the love of her life, in 1959 and relocated to NJ where she established roots for her family and career. A passionate educator, Josephine embraced her calling for over 30 years, inspiring a generation of children at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Westfield, NJ. Josephine also served as representative for the Westfield Education Association during the 1978 teachers’ strike, advocating for fair pay and teachers’ rights.
A devout Catholic, Josephine was a Eucharist Minister and active member of the Rosary Altar Society at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Scotch Plains. She was a dedicated member of the College of Mount Saint Vincent’s Alumni Association.
Following her husband’s passing in the early 1990s, Josephine retired and moved to Gaithersburg, MD, where she embraced a life full of activities with her children, grandchildren, and many friends. In retirement, Josephine was a volunteer and ardent supporter of the arts in the DC area. For over 15 years, she volunteered at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and was an active Kennedy Center member. Josephine was also an enthusiastic member of the National Italian American Foundation and the Gaithersburg Area Newcomers Club.
Josephine’s passions included international travel, Italian cooking, gardening, theatre, opera, book club, and playing bridge. She was an avid fan of her children and grandchildren, supporting their sports, hobbies, and creative, musical, and academic pursuits. In her early years, Josephine enjoyed ballroom dancing and family camping trips.
Josephine is also survived by 4 devoted sons-in-law; 9 adoring grandchildren, Walter Kruhoeffer, Anna Ball, Lt. Brett Kruhoeffer, Meghan Ball, Christopher Ball, Brendan Ryan, Kathryn Wright, Elisabeth Wright, Celina Ryan; and one great-son, Jordan Kruhoeffer. Josephine was predeceased by three siblings, Angela Cavuoto of Yonkers, NY, Grace Pilato of Rochester, NY, and Patrick Cavuoto of Shrub Oak, NY; and by her granddaughter Abigail Leigh Ryan of Great Falls, VA.
Friends and family will be received at the Roy Barber Funeral Home, 21525 Laytonsville Rd., Gaithersburg, Maryland for a visitation on Thursday, July 8, 2021 from 7-9PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 9000 Warfield Rd., Gaithersburg, MD on Friday, July 9, 2021 at 12PM.
At a later date, a Memorial Mass will be planned at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, in Scotch Plains, NJ, followed by interment at St. Gertrude’s Cemetery & Mausoleum in Colonia, NJ where Josephine will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband Walter.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org) or to the College of Mount Saint Vincent Annual Fund (www.mountsaintvincent.edu.)
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