WOMAN OF ACHIEVEMENT
LeMars Teacher Is Honored Today;
Josephine Winslow Shares Credit with God, Her Friends, Relatives
By Edith K.Webster
[News article found pasted in Aunt Helen's scrapbook; included
with the article are some wonderful photos of Miss Winslow.]
A woman who is soft-spoken, blue-eyed and serene lives in the house of her
birth quite literally "by the side of the road" in LeMars. It's a tall,
thin sort of a little, white frame house, with a sedate air which is the
description you at first might apply to the person who resides there alone.
But don't be misled.
For Miss Josephine Winslow and her pretty small home are like one of those
rather elegant new appliances, deceptively decorative outside but perking
away with businesslike precision and accomplishment within.
Which is the reason why today the Sioux City Journal-Tribune Publications
name Miss Winslow Woman of Achievement, inviting her with others, so
honored, to the annual Achievement Day, May 5.
And it's reason, in addition, why the community of LeMars more than once has
honored Miss Winslow, who has served her townspeople with sparkling
consistency, throughout her life.
Now Josephine Winslow has an answer for the pessimists who maintains that
teaching school is a dull occupation. It's optimistic denial, evidenced in
her life; her continued interest in people, and her remarkable, working
faith in God. She doesn't even need to speak about it. But if she will the
listener learns a lot which has to do with the intangibles that govern the
concrete and a few extra tricks thrown in.
Miss Winslow, for instance, has a remarkable philosophy of waiting. "I was
waiting for the Lord to send me something to do..and he sent me a deaf boy,"
she will state without a single dramatic inflection and just about like you
might begin a story, "Yesterday morning."
Or again, she'll relate: "I'd always receive a blessing when I was with Mrs.
Costello." And there will not be a single over-emphasized syllable to preach
or to embarrass.
Time and again waiting was the preface to doing, with "Miss Josephine," as
many call her, performing the immediate task to lead to an important
It was that way with the deaf boy, whom Miss Winslow taught for seven years
until he graduated in the upper one-third of his class from LeMars High
School. And then she tutored a child in a plaster cast and another, a
spastic boy in first grade.
The Lord sent her, in all, 1,223 LeMars boys and girls and 28 children in a
village school in addition to the many others of three districts in which
she also taught.
And school and friendship were one, but not the same. Because these "boys
and girls" who now have provided Miss Winslow's uncountable family of
"grandchildren" made it that way. They still come and the go to and from
the tall, white house, bringing their families as they formerly brought the
stories of their joys, troubles, loves and discouragements. Letters as well
as visits keep Miss Winslow in touch with them. And there are treasured
mementoes all around, like the high school graduation picture of a third
grader, handicapped then. "This is a smile of victory you have helped me
achieve, Miss Winslow," he wrote when he sent it.
And then there are notes from a speech by a LeMars school superintendent,
naming her "Master Teacher." They mention "her contribution to education
through the private instruction of handicapped children" and the "love and
esteem of hundred of former pupils of the Clark school who came under the
influence of her fine character."
Clark school in LeMars is where Miss Winslow has been both teacher and
principal, attaining rank to confirm the success story which is every
American boy's and girl's potential tale. For Miss Winslow began to teach
for a wage of $10 monthly as an assistant primary instructor. She went on
to rural schools, where she taught six years; and later returned to the
LeMars system, where she taught in third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades
before becoming principal at Clark.
She relinquished the title-and some responsibilities-"when Our Precious Miss
Katherine left." And the quotation gives you an idea of the gentle thing
conversation with Miss Winslow becomes.
"Miss Katherine" is Miss Keehn who for 20 years was a housekeeper for the
Winslow family. It was a motherless household because of death from the
time Miss Josephine was six years of age. "Our Miss Katherine" stayed until
Clifford, Fred, Claude and Josephine Winslow had grown.
Takes Over Homemaking
Miss Winslow, resigning as principal, assumed charge of her father's
household, waiting then, too, for ways to help other people. In 1941 she
retired from the LeMars school system, but not from work, since then arose
the need for Care Packages and other wartime assistances.
The one of them all which stands apart, from a story telling viewpoint, is
that of Antonina Kusik, once of Warsaw, Poland, and now of Philadelphia. It
happened when Miss Winslow was between jobs, so to speak, "waiting for
someone else to come along for whom I could do something," in her own quiet
She met Antonina through a blind friend, the late Mrs. Ed Costello, for whom
she used to read aloud and with whom she had traveled, bookwise, to Mexico,
Alaska, and a great many other interesting places.
Miss Winslow invited Antonina, a displaced person, to call, which she did
one afternoon when not on nursing duty. They visited of Antonina's past and
of her mother and sister whom she had not seen for five years, including
time spent in a concentration camp. One of Antonina's friends was still in
Germany and in need. And that was the reason why Miss Josephine excused
herself and went upstairs to see if she could find a dress or two to send.
While she was away, Antonina thumbed a magazine, The Christian Advocate.
Now it wasn't a recent magazine. It was a back issue, nearer the bottom
than the top of the pile on Miss Winslow's table. Yet it was the one which
contained an illustration picturing the Methodist mission in Warsaw and
naming the missionary in charge.
Next morning Miss Winslow took the magazine to Rev. H. V. Bartz, pastor of
the First Methodist Church in LeMars. He, she and Antonina all wrote
letters at once. And three weeks later Antonina had word from her mother,
sister and other relatives with whom she has been reunited in correspondence
since. And from then on, parcels have been going from Miss Winslow's to
Since the death in 1929 of her father, J. Wallace Winslow, a former mayor of
LeMars, who homesteaded in Iowa with his family in 1869, Miss Winslow has
lived alone. She has traveled a bit and visited her brothers, Clifford and
Fred of Spokane and Claude of near Portland.
She has kept a service flag, like many other mothers and grandmothers, and
each star names a boy or a girl she calls hers. They number 126, with six
gold stars among them.
Meanwhile there was church work to do, like activities of the Wesleyan
Service guild at LeMars. For many years Miss Winslow was in charge of the
primary department there. And she's still on the staff of teachers as an
associate. As choir member and as pianist, she has helped, also.
Besides there was work around as well as in the house, literally-a garden
from which shining jars of vegetables go to the Winslow pantry, and an
orchard of apple and plum trees, which similarly contributes. And Miss
Winslow does needlework of the most intricate sorts, like cutwork,
crocheting and other varieties. All of the neighbors share the fruits of
her garden, flower beds and orchard. And all the neighbors drop by to help
with little chores when there's a blizzard or other need, just as they call
her by day or in the middle of the night.
Miss Winslow belongs to the LeMars and International Sunshine clubs, which
means that she calls on shut-ins, the ill, aged, sorrowing and lonely. She
says this about her interests: "I want my hobbies to add life to my years,
not years to my life." It would appear that they accomplish both.
Because if you imagine that her achieving is all in the past tense, this not
For right now a native boy in India is studying for the Christian ministry
because of Josephine Winslow. She has "adjusted her budget," she says,
reluctant to discuss the matter, and in addition she has a nephew, described
as "very spiritual" with the implication of "very generous."
It "all shows how good people are to me," Miss Winslow credits, Rev. Wallace
Winslow Braband, named for Josephine's father, now is a missionary serving
with his family in northern Nigeria, West Africa.
Miss Winslow's life, far-reaching in helpfulness, has resolved itself into
an orderly routine of LeMars home and friends, work and recreation. She has
a button collection of 7,000 items, "not too large." She was honored with a
Tom Brenneman orchid in 1946.
And yet a question remains, outspoken by Josephine Winslow. And it
represents in a sense a summary of many attributes over a period of years.
She reiterates it, in conversation and in writing, with a sincerity which
leaves no doubt of her appreciation. She'll say:
"I just wonder if other teachers have had such wonderful boys and girls and
Above photo: the piano which gleams with black, carved intricacies, was her
mother's. The picture, that of a one-time mayor of LeMars, is a likeness of
her father, the late J. Wallace Winslow.
A needle in hand is worth two in a case, when one considers the uses
to which Miss Winslow, serenely, constantly busy, puts hers.
Living alone includes three meals, prepared as such, each day for
balanced, healthful diet, Miss Winslow explains, pouring a glass of milk on
a pretty tray full of food to be eaten on her lap in the sunshine.
All Mothers and Grandmothers...had service flags and so has Miss Josephine
Winslow, whose boys and girls in military service are remembered by stars,
inscribed with their names. It's a large "family."
b. 11 Aug 1884
d. 15 Apr 1972
quoting her obituary:
A teacher in LeMars and Plymouth county for 36 years, Miss Winslow began her
teaching career in 1905 here. After teaching in rural schools for six
years, she came to the LeMars school system in 1911 as an elementary teacher
at Clark school under superintendent Harvey Kluckhohn.
For the next 30 years, until retirement in 1941, she taught various grades,
mostly third and fourth at Clark and served many terms as principal at that
Dr. Kluckhohn recalls an event that pleased Miss Winslow very much was her
serving as Diamond Jubilee Queen in May of 1956 at the time of the diamond
jubilee anniversary for LeMars high school, her alma mater.
She had graduated from LeMars high school in 1903.
link to her obituary