Josephine Estella Likens

LikensJosephine Estella Likens, 104, of Sidney, Ind., died of respiratory complications at 5:50 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, in Timbercrest Healthcare Center in North Manchester, Ind.

She had celebrated her 104th birthday with some 50 family and friends on Dec. 12, 2012. Her husband of 61 years, Colonel B. Likens, a well-known school teacher and principal in Sidney and Monroe Township schools, preceded her in death in 1991.

Josephine was born in Fairmount, Ind., to Cyrus Melbourne Garner and Caroline Gemmer Garner. The family moved to a small farm in Monroe Township in 1918 where she lived for the remainder of her life.

Her recitation of the poem “Home” by Edgar Guest was a favorite and she could give this poem/reading by memory to the end of her life. A YouTube version at her 100th birthday went “viral” on the Internet.

She was a renowned seamstress and musician.  She and Colonel had sung at numerous weddings, funerals and other occasions, and she was a long-time pianist/organist at the Eel River Congregational Christian Church, Spring Creek Church of the Brethren and the Eel River Church of the Brethren. For decades she played the piano for singing “America the Beautiful” at the Kosciusko County Retired Teachers Association Meeting.

She graduated from Sidney High School in 1927 and was proud of the fact that she had never missed attending the annual alumni meeting. She had been a school secretary at the Sidney High School and Whitko Consolidated School for many years, president of the Eel River Ladies Aid and Grand Marshal at the Sidney Days Parade.

Her love of life, her sense of humor and winning smile will be long remembered by family and friends.

Josephine is survived by two sons: Gene (Phyllis) Likens, Clinton Corners, N.Y.; and Stephen (Elsa) Likens, Cerritos, Calif.; seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her husband; a sister: Margaret Whitehead; and a half-sister: Ethel Davis.

Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Eel River Community Church of the Brethren, 2507 E. SR 14, Silver Lake, Ind., with calling one hour prior to service. Pastor Andrew Sampson and Rev. Byron Miller will officiate.  Burial will follow services at Hillcrest Cemetery, Pierceton, Ind.

For those who wish to honor the memory of Josephine Likens, memorial contributions may be made to the Timbercrest Senior Living Community, P.O. Box 501, North Manchester, IN 46962



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