History Of Josephine

At the turn of the century, Norwegian immigrant John Hals owned a successful shingle mill on the outskirts of Stanwood in the newly established state of Washington. John and his wife Josephine were prominent members of the pioneer community and were active in Stanwood’s Trinity Lutheran Church. The couple lived well until tragedy struck in 1905 when Josephine died while giving birth to their first child. In memory of his wife, John Hals donated $10,000 and a ten-acre parcel of land to be used for the construction of a home for the elderly. A little more than a year later “Josephine Old People’s Home,” was dedicated in a jubilant celebration on Sunday, September 26, 1908. Mr. Hals addressed the gathering of over one thousand people, charging them to “Care for others as God has provided for us.”

John Hals’ vision of extending God’s love to others remains the foundation of Josephine. For many years, support for Josephine came chiefly from its member congregations and the surrounding community. Churches arranged “pound socials,” which invited participants to bring one pound of food to be given to the residents. Other civic groups regularly pitched in to help raise money to support the cost of resident care. This community support was vital not only to the basic survival of Josephine but enabled Josephine to go the “extra mile” in providing high quality, compassionate, person-centered care for the body, mind and spirit. Josephine was, in fact, an extension of the community’s commitment to provide high quality care to their elderly.

Over the years the needs of the community changed significantly. In the late 1980s, Josephine began providing childcare services – first to the staff and then to families in the community. The program followed a unique vision: rather than separating the children from the residents, the childcare classrooms were located throughout the facility and opportunities for inter-generational encounters were built right into the daily schedule. The program was an immediate success. Shortly after launching the childcare program, Snohomish county officials invited Josephine to conduct an Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) program, Washington State’s equivalent of the federal Head Start childcare program for low-income families. Today we have 250+ children registered in our Daycare, Preschool, ECEAP, Montessori, Kindergarten programs along with before & after school program.  In 1997, Josephine added “The Suites”. These 55 apartments/suites include studio and 1 or 2 bedroom units. Today, Josephine continues to grow in our service, being licensed for 160 Rehabilitation, Long-Term Care, and Memory Care beds.

With the advent of federally-funded health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s, Josephine’s dependence on community support began to change. Today, Josephine continues to follow our mission; “Josephine is a caregiving community for all generations” and to be good stewards of our finances and operate in an efficient manner. This enables our partner congregations, members and other community-based groups to focus their support on special needs or activities of Josephine’s residents and or children.

Josephine today has over 300 employees and continues to look to the future; reviewing community needs, assisting where we can and applying newly learned care techniques and therapy to those we care for. It is with “One Heart and Many Hands” that Josephine continues to celebrate “Fullness of Life” with our community centered services since 1908. It is with this same heart, that we say to all our past and present staff, congregations, parishioners, volunteers, donors, and so many others: “Thank You”.