It is with the fondest of memories that the family of Josephine C. Wheeler announce her passing on January 18, 2023. She was an amazing 95 years old. After being a long- time resident of Peterborough, NH, Jo enjoyed the last four-and-one-half years in independent living at Scott Farrar.
Jo, “Grammy Jo” as she was lovingly known by family and friends was born in Bennington, NH on April 22, 1927 to Italian immigrants, Guisseppe and Nunzia Cuddemi. Although from the same town in Sicily, Jo’s parents met in this country. Her mom was only 15 years old when she travelled across the Atlantic to Ellis Island. Jo’s parents raised six children on $9/week during the 20’s and 30’s and with many of the traditions of their Italian homeland, from making their own sausage, cheese and wine!
Jo was a 1945 graduate of Hillsborough High School, where she served as Class Marshall her Junior year. She attended Bennington High School her Freshman and Sophomore years where she was a star basketball player. Basketball was a big part of Jo’s life as she loved her Celtics and could yell at the television like the best of them! She learned to love football once she understood the rules of the game and always looked forward to Sunday afternoon sports.
Upon graduation from high school, Jo immediately went to work for the American Guernsey Cattle Club, where she met her husband John, whom she married in 1948. Their marriage was the story of the daughter of Italian immigrants who ate pasta every day, married to a tried-and-true Yankee who grew up eating pot roast and baked beans! Jo worked at The Guernsey from 1945 to 1950 when she had to stop working because she was pregnant with their first child (women, of course were forbidden at the time, to work while pregnant!)
Jo stayed home to take care of her family for 17 years as John travelled extensively for The Guernsey. Early years of marriage were marked with lots of friends, dinner parties, card games and dances; and, once their three children were in high school, Jo and John never missed a basketball game either at home or away. Their two sons, Tim and Jeff were star basketball players and their daughter, Nancy a cheerleader.
Many will remember Jo as the office manager of Sim’s Press where she worked from 1974 to her retirement in 1994. After retirement, Jo returned to Sim’s to work part time, working well until her mid-80’s. Customers would come to Sim’s and only want to speak with Jo!
The Wheeler cottage on Sunset Lake in Greenfield, NH was the summer gathering place for family and friends and where Jo had many of her fondest memories. Jo and John purchased the camp in 1961 and it remains in the family to this day. It was the scene of great dinners, waterskiing, fishing, pancakes and Grammy Jo’s famous baking powder biscuits; and of course, the cookie jar that was always full for children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and their many friends. Jo spent every summer at Sunset Lake until just four years ago, tending to her flowers, and bringing the family together for fabulous Sunday breakfasts!
Jo loved to dance, loved the big band era and Elvis. She has fond memories of travels with family and friends as her travels took her to France, Italy, England, North Wales, Germany and Sicily. And, Jo always remembered to send a card (and always on time) for a birthday, anniversary, graduation, special celebration - - all in her perfect handwriting.
Jo took her greatest joy and happiness from her family and friends, who remember her wonderful cooking – pasta dinners, baking powder biscuits, Christmas cocktail mix, her famous chocolate cream pie and rum cake and so much more. Those family members and friends treasure a cookbook of Grammy Jo’s favorite recipes.
Jo was a regular at the Serendipity Shop for over fifteen years until it closed in 2020.
Jo is survived by her three children: Tim and his wife, Marie-Claire; Jeff and his wife, Debe; and daughter, Nancy Wheeler and her husband Tom Willits; six grandchildren; and 12 great grandchildren.
The family wishes to thank the team at Home Healthcare Hospice & Community Services for their compassionate support during Jo’s final months and days; the residents and staff of Scott Farrar who were her friends and “family”; and to Monadnock Community Hospital.
A service and celebration of her life will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Peterborough on Monday, January 30th at eleven o'clock. A reception will follow.
Memorial gifts can be made in the name of Josephine Wheeler to: MCH – Hospice Room, Monadnock Community Hospital, 452 Old Street Road, Peterborough, NH 03458; Home Healthcare Hospice & Community Services; 9 Vose Farm Road, Suite 110, Peterborough, NH 03458; or Jenny Scott Legacy Fund at Scott-Farrar, 11 Elm Street, Peterborough, NH 03458.