Josephine Newkirk

Josephine “Josie” Muriel Newkirk of Pillager passed away peacefully on April, 29, 2020.

A private family service will be held May 8, 2020 followed by a celebration of life in July.

Born in Longlevens, Gloucester, England to Samuel James Lionel Harris and Lillian Marie (Hawker), Josephine Muriel Harris came into this world with fortitude being born under an oak table amidst a World War II bombing raid. She grew up in Longlevens and graduated from Ribston Hall High School for Girls. She was united in marriage to Kenneth Lester Newkirk on November 9, 1963. They traveled the world together and made many wonderful memories in the Netherlands, England and the United States. 

Josie was known for her generosity, wisdom, kindness, wit, moxie and warm demeanor. She will be fondly remembered for her amazing cooking, eye for decorating and fashion, as well as her deep love for family. She loved playing board and card games, always with a twinkle in her eye. An avid reader and history lover, Josie could discuss everything from classical music and books, to all you needed to know about England’s history. Her affinity for literature and head for numbers led her to jobs as a librarian, bookkeeper and clerk. 

Josie is survived by her husband, Ken, of 56 years; one son, Ian Newkirk (Susan); two daughters, Julia Schreifels, (Philip) and Lisa Newkirk; one brother Nick Harris; 10 grandchildren (or mon ange “my angel” as she lovingly called each of them), Jonathon Newkirk (Jessica), Sarah Newkirk, Sam Newkirk (Sarah Marie), Emily Reed (Jordan), Jenna Nielsen, Alyssa Nielsen, Emma Schreifels, Adeline Schreifels, Lily Schreifels and David Rothenburg; and many nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Gerald Harris. 

In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made to a charity close to Josie’s heart - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

Arrangements by Brenny Family Funeral Chapel,, 218-828-5051.

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Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:

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