Lavely, Josephine

August 24, 2008

LAVELY, Josephine Magee Of Walpole and formerly Newton, died peacefully on August 24, 2008, at age 89. Beloved wife of John Hillman, who predeceased her in 2004, and devoted mother of four children: Anthony Magee, of Orlando, Florida; John Hillman, Jr., of Malibu, California; Lisa, of Dedham, Massachusetts; and Kim, of London, England. She had six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. One surviving sister is Jane Cole Peggy Magee Pfeil of Wausa, Nebraska. She was born in St. Albans, Vermont, in 1919 to John Benjamin Magee and Lillian Newhouse Magee. She graduated from Broadway High School in Seattle, Washington, in 1936. After studying at the University of Washington, she earned her B. A. degree from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1940. She earned her Masters in Religious Education in 1941 at Boston University School of Theology where she met her future husband. They were married in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1941, at a ceremony officiated by both fathers. At her husbands side, she worked tirelessly at Wesley Methodist Church in Framingham, Massachusetts, and later at churches in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and Medford, Massachusetts. After her husband became a professor of philosophy at Boston University, she became the director of religious education at The First Congregational Church in Newton Center, Massachusetts. In 1960, she earned her teaching certificate at Harvard University and began a second career as a secondary school teacher and taught at Day and Bigelow Junior High Schools in Newton, Massachusetts, for twenty-five years. In 1965, The Christian Science Monitor recognized her distinguished teaching career in a feature article. During a sabbatical in 1969-70, she taught English as a second language in Kyoto, Japan. For the next quarter century, she was the sister in Sister City to legions of Japanese friends as she led them along the Freedom Trail in Boston. In retirement, when she and her husband became early residents of New Pond Village in Walpole, Massachusetts, she continued her community service as Chairperson of the Residents Association and later served as their regional delegate to the Massachusetts Life Care Residents Association. Always devoted to her church in stewardship and action, she was an active member of the United Parish of Auburndale and later at The United Church in Walpole, where the last service she attended was a special ministry of music program honoring her late husband. Throughout her life, she was deeply spiritual and sought reconciliation and dignity among all people. She was a constant advocate for world peace, human and civil rights, and equal rights for women. Though her physical body became diminished by years and injuries, her mind was lucid and her spirit was vibrant to the very end. Only weeks before her death, she had a joyful reunion with her four children, her grandchildren, and her great-granddaughter. During her last days, JoMo, as she was called by her grandchildren, was still teaching them at her bedside through stories of her own life. Often demanding, but always forgiving, she asked more of herself than she did of others. She donated her body to the University of Massachusetts Medical School for medical research. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 20th, 11:00 AM, at the United Church in Walpole, 33 Common Street. Immediately following the memorial service, there will be a light lunch reception for family and friends at New Pond Village, 180 Main Street, Walpole. Memorial contributions may be made to The Fellowship of Reconciliation, 521 North Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960 or online