Josephine Chipman

Obituary of Josephine Ruth Chipman


Wednesday, February 24, 2021 closed the story of a remarkable woman. Josephine (Friesen) Chipman started life on a pioneering homestead in Saskatchewan in 1934, during the Great Depression. The quest for a stable income took the family – father Cornelius Friesen, mother Eva, and younger sisters Jenny and Shirley – to Southern Ontario, then to a farm in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.


In 1954 Josephine married her high school sweetheart, Gary Neiland (also) Friesen. Josephine and Gary had five children together. She worked as a school librarian and teacher when she could, but as an Air Force wife, she packed up and moved her family of seven every few years, from British Columbia to Winnipeg to Prince Edward Island to Ottawa to England and back to PEI. In 1978, Gary retired to PEI and the couple opened an antique store (“Time Was”) in picturesque Victoria-by-the-Sea. Josephine's thirst for knowledge drove her back to university when she was in her 50’s, and she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History at the University of Prince Edward Island. After 30 years of marriage, in 1984, Josephine and Gary parted ways and she moved back to Winnipeg to pursue a Master of Arts in History at the University of Winnipeg. It was there that she met and married photographer Hamilton Royes "Paul" Chipman and was finally able to settle for almost 32 years. There she wrote “Breaking Ground, Three Generations of Women in the Canadian West”, a fictionalized history of her family and its Mennonite roots. She followed that with an (unpublished) account of her life as an Air Force wife. Paul and Josephine spent many years traveling the world together, and founded the Healing Ministry at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. In 2016, failing health brought her to the Trillium Care facility in Kingston, Ontario, where she eventually passed away surrounded by family members. 


Josephine was intelligent and determined, and lived for her children. She always made sure that there were good books in the house, and infused her children with a high value for education. She raised her daughters to break free from the confines of what society told them that women should be. For these things, and so much more, we, her children, are forever grateful. 


Josephine was predeceased by her husband Paul in 2016 and eldest daughter Claire Denise in 2011. She is survived by her daughters Jodie Rae (Ron Gorveatt), Corinne Mary, and Victoria Louise (Tim Birt), and son Dale Cameron (Bev Code). She is also survived by 12 grandchildren (Jeffrey, Erica, and Alexander Friesen; Rebecca and Jacob Gorveatt; DJ and Michael Steel; Daniel and Katie Birt; and Ian, Laura and Emily Carlsen), as well as 4 great grandchildren (Sierra and Layla Friesen;

and Malcolm and Elliott Carlsen).


A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Donations can be made to a literacy foundation or library of your choice.


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