Josephine Gertrude Laux (née Wilt), known to friends and family as Jo, and to
college friends as Bubbles, passed away quietly in her sleep in the early morning
hours of Wednesday, December 13, 2023. She is survived by numerous children
and grandchildren, who will remember her lovingly as the warm and affectionate
matriarch of the extended Laux clan.
Josephine was born August 23, 1932 in Chicago, Illinois to Charles and Gertrude
Wilt. Jo’s mother passed away while she was still a teenager, and so together with
her older sister Flo, Josephine spent many hours after school and on weekends
attending to domestic chores, and often assisted her father in the development of
Jo graduated with a B.S. from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Mo., and worked
briefly as a grade school teacher before being married in Chicago to the late France
Albert Laux of St. Louis on June 18, 1955; they had met at a Halloween dance—Jo
was reluctant to go but was persuaded by friends, never suspecting the life-
changing consequences. Thus began over a half-century as a devoted wife to
France and loving but strict mother to nine children—Ken, Laura, Ed, Sandy, Margie
(deceased), Linda, Wally, Ann, and Deb, and doting grandmother to Justin, Dan,
Michelle, Ella, Alexa, and Max.
The arc of Jo’s lifetime as devoted wife and mother took her from her native
Chicago to St. Louis, then to Denver, coastal California, thence to Okinawa, Japan,
and back again to St. Louis. Once all the Laux children had flown the coop, she and
husband France were at long last free to move to sunnier climes, relocating in
Tucson, Arizona; and after spending several further years in Phoenix, they finally
returned once again to Chicago.
Josephine was known to her children as a strict disciplinarian who would not shrink
from demanding that homework be finished, household chores completed, and
plates cleaned—even the peas! At the same time, she had a knack for knowing
when a child was really struggling, and was often ready to make exceptions, even
when said struggling had a somewhat theatrical element, to which she was
frequently blind. Her “tough love” M.O. was ill-matched to her fundamentally
Jo loved frog’s legs, an extra cocktail shared with husband France, and corny I Love
Lucy episodes. She listened to Vicki Carr, Mitch Miller, and schlocky Hawaiian folk
songs. She looked forward to fondue on New Year’s Eve and bowling league nights.
And above all, she loved and took pride in her doctor husband and her motley
collection of offspring, whose talents, abilities, temperaments, and
accomplishments varied widely but who all bore evidence of her idiosyncratic
approach to parenting.
Josephine was predeceased by her husband France of nearly 58 years and her
daughter Margaret. She is interred together with France and Margaret in St.
Joseph's Cemetery, River Grove, Illinois.