Josephine Piekarz Ives

14 February, 192116 November, 2020

CHATHAM – Dr. Josephine Piekarz Ives, 99, of Chatham, passed away peacefully at home on Nov. 16, 2020. She was born in Colchester, CT; the daughter of the late Joseph and Anna (Przybos) Piekarz. She was predeceased by her husband, Sumner Albert Ives, who died April 24, 1984. Josephine graduated from the Teachers College of Connecticut in 1943 and taught first grade in West Hartford, CT for 3 years. She graduated from Boston University in 1947 and served as the elementary school reading supervisor in Plainville, CT for 2 years. Josephine went on to earn her Ph.D from the University of Chicago in 1954 in Educational Psychology and went to the University of South Carolina, where she taught graduate students and developed a Reading clinic that served the schools throughout the state. In 1957 she accepted a position at New York University in NYC where she spent the next 20 years. Josephine retired as a Professor Emerita of Educational Psychology in 1977 and moved with her husband to Chatham, MA. Following her husband’s death, she became involved in local community affairs in Chatham. She served on the Eldredge Public Library Board of Trustees for 11 years. She was elected as Chatham’s first female selectman and served two terms, 1988-1994. Josephine also served on several town committees, e.g. elementary school and human service. She also volunteered as a reading tutor a half day a week in the Chatham Elementary School for 14 years. She was very proud of the annual donations she’d make to Chatham and Lower Cape charitable organizations. She was awarded the “Pioneering Women Award” by Cape Cod Community College in 2008, as well as the “Mercy Otis Warren” award as the Woman of the Year. She was also instrumental in incorporating two organizations: The Connecticut Cerebral Palsy Association in 1946 and The Lower Cape Cod Development Corporation, while she was on the Board of Selectmen. Besides her parents and husband, she is predeceased by her four siblings; Francis, Adam, Anthony, and Helen. She is survived by her stepson, Sumner William Ives, and a number of cousins scattered around the country. In lieu of flowers, please remember her through donations to the Eldredge Public Library, 564 Main St., Chatham, MA 02633. No services.


Josephine Piekarz Ives

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Kathleen Schatzberg

December 3, 2020

I was so sorry to learn of the passing of Jo Ives, who demonstrated that women could achieve far more than was "allowed" for women of her time. My condolences to her stepson and all those who loved her, her many friends and colleagues in Chatham and beyond who were lucky enough to know her.

Jo was so kind and supportive to me, and an inspiration as well. We were introduced by the then-Superintendent of the Chatham schools, Vida Gavin, shortly after I moved to Cape Cod in 1998 to take the helm at Cape Cod Community College. I soon learned that Jo had worked at the University of Chicago with a young professor who later became head of doctoral programs in reading education at Hofstra University -- and my doctoral advisor. When the search for a new CCCC president was ongoing, Jo knew from newspaper descriptions of the candidates that I must have been the student of her former colleague, and she sent him the newspaper clippings about the search ... and they both cheered from the sidelines for my success. If wishing works, then they were responsible for my getting the job!

Later, CCCC was honored to bestow our Woman of the Year Award on Jo. At the ceremony, she thoroughly charmed the audience with a toe-curling and somewhat raucous story about the morning after her election as the first woman "selectman" in Chatham. Needless to say, some of the men of the town were not thrilled with her election, but she went on to prove them foolish as she piled up achievements for the betterment of Chatham.

Jo will be lovingly remembered and lauded as a trailblazer by all of us fortunate enough to have known her.

Kerry Davis

November 21, 2020

I had the privilege of caring for Josephine over the past six months. It was always a pleasure visiting her, as she would welcome me into her peaceful home where she shared her humor and memories of her life. She was modest and self deprecating in her achievements but ought to be remembered for her kindness and generosity which she shared towards children, animals and her community. She will be fondly missed.
Kerry Davis, RN