Josephine “Jo” Lipinski (née Pawelko) passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, at home with her loved ones. She was one month shy of her 103rd birthday. Jo was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, neighbor, and friend.
Jo was the youngest of Gregory and Mary (Gbur) Pawelko’s eight children. She was born in Jersey City and attended schools there and in Brooklyn, NY. She completed her studies at Dickinson High School in Jersey City, NJ. As a young adult, Jo was active in the Whittier House Boys and Girls Club. She was often asked to sing solos for the entertainment of the Trustees at their meetings. One of her first jobs was at Popper Morson, a liquor bottler and distributor from which she had many fun stories to tell.
Jo met the love of her life, Gus Lipinski, in Jersey City. While dating they enjoyed roller skating, movies, and dancing. During World War II while Gus served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Jo volunteered as a hostess at the Salvation Army for the service members stopping there. When the war ended, Gus came home and they were married on April 1, 1945. As that was also Gus’ birthday, she always quipped that she was his best birthday gift.
Jo and Gus moved into their brand-new home in Colonia, NJ, where they raised their daughters, Carol and Jeanne. Jo was the mom who was there for whatever was needed, be it serving as class mother, trimming bangs, or sewing a Halloween costume or Communion dress. She was a friend and neighbor on whom you could count. During this time, Jo also completed an intensive course in operating IBM key punch machines. She was a woman at the start of the computer age! Once her girls were older, Jo enjoyed the social aspect of working in the custom drapery department of Bamberger’s/Macy’s for over 25 years. She took pride in her yellow flower and having been chosen as a Macy’s Ambassador.
Jo was a communicant of St. John Vianney Church in Colonia since its founding and was a member of the Alter Rosary Society.
Jo was always up for an adventure, including bungee jumping with her daughter, riding scooters with her grandchildren, giving impromptu polka lessons in the driveway, hot air ballooning, traveling the US and Europe, hoola hooping and jumping rope, and playing video games with her great-grandkids.
Jo lit up any room she entered with her charm, quick wit, contagious smile, and sparkling blue eyes that held a ton of love and a twinkle of good mischief. She could land a joke better than anyone in the room and always had one to tell.
Jo loved to spend time with friends. She looked forward to her Senior Citizens of Colonia and St. John Vianney Seniors’ meetings and loved attending their picnics, holiday, and other special activities. Daily newspapers and their puzzles as well as Jeopardy were favorite pastimes. Jo loved the NY Yankees and kept each day’s starting lineup next to her chair as she faithfully watched each game. She was no doubt a contender for the title of “Yankees’ Biggest Fan.” She loved looking at family photos on her iPad and having Facetime sessions with her family.
Jo was predeceased by her parents, Gregory and Mary (Gbur) Pawelko, her brothers Michael, Peter, and William, sisters Helen, Katherine, Anne, and Jewel, and her beloved husband Gus. She leaves behind many people who love her dearly, including her daughters and their spouses, Carol and John Eberhardt of Iselin, NJ, and Dr. Jeanne and Gary Hoffman of Del Mar, CA; her grandchildren and their spouses, James and Tracy Eberhardt of Wichita, KS, and Dr. Alyson Eberhardt and Kevin Baum of Exeter, NH; her cherished great-grandchildren, Ainsley and Marleigh Eberhardt and Maxwell and Amelie Baum, and many nieces, nephews, and dear friends.
Jo had a full life and remained young at heart until the end. Everyone who had the great fortune to know her was better for it. She had a zest for life that was contagious. She modeled how to live a long and full life, meeting its challenges with strength and determination while remaining upbeat and optimistic. Her family and friends will miss her deeply. We all can honor her best by carrying on life with a joke, a smile, and a twinkle in our eye.
Jo will be reunited with her love, Gus, at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery at Point Loma, San Diego, California. Services will be private.
Donations can be made in Jo’s memory to World Central Kitchen (
) or Operation Smile (
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