Josephine C. Stitzel

March 12, 1925 ~ September 26, 2021 (age 96)


Josephine Canonico Stitzel

Our dear friend, loving mother to all, and wife, Josephine, peacefully passed on September 26, 2021. She was more likely known as Jo, or Miss Jo to friends. She was born to John Louis and Fannie Canonico in Lodi, NJ. Prior to marrying her Prince Charming and the man of her dreams, John T. Stitzel, Sr., in 1955, she was the caring big sister of four brothers and one sister: Louis Canonico, Lawrence Canonico, Patrick Canonico, John Canonico, and Lee Canonico Kachadurian. All are pre-deceased.

She was brilliant and talented. In her 20s, few knew that she served as a draftsman for Bendix Aviation. She prided herself on her ability to squeeze into places men could not fit. She was gifted with a beautiful voice that family still enjoys via numerous records. That was the only means of preserving sound in the day. Her paintings continue to be relished by family members.

She is survived by one daughter, three sons, and an adoring husband of almost 66 years. Her daughter is Leonette Stitzel Ehlenbeck and her husband, John, who reside in Brooksville, FL. Her three sons are John T. Stitzel, Jr. and his wife, Sherri, who reside in Crystal River, FL, Arthur L. Stitzel and his wife, Raquel, who reside in Lakeland, FL, and Patrick J. Stitzel, who resides in Lakeland, FL. Josephine has 8 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren who all lovingly knew her as Grandma Jo.

After raising children, Miss Jo re-entered the workforce as a teacher at Miss Janet’s Private School in Lakeland, FL. Her energy, affection, hard work, and love of children reached so, so many.

She was blessed to have the attention of amazing, devoted, and loving care takers in her final years. Because of this, even though her oral communications were limited, her smile and sparkling eyes resonated until her final hours.

She is missed but will never be forgotten. Her legacy lives on in so many ways. She set the bar for how to live a life of love and care for one another. We are comforted in knowing that she is with our Lord. As Jo would always say, “Bye for now”.

In lieu of flowers, because of her deep love for children, please consider a donation to The Kiwanis Cares For Kids Tree House, Bonnet Springs Park. Checks can be made payable to the Lakeland Kiwanis Charitable Foundation, PO Box 5146, Lakeland, FL 33807. Or, click on Or, because of their wonderful care in her final years, please consider Vitas Healthcare, 6850 New Tampa Highway, Ste. 600, Lakeland, FL, 33815.

Services will be held at Lakeland Funeral Home on Friday October 1, 2021. Visitation from 10 AM - 11 AM, service at 11 AM.

Words of comfort may be expressed by clicking “Share a Memory” link.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Josephine C. Stitzel, please visit our floral store.



Lakeland Memorial Gardens
2125 South Bartow Road
Lakeland, FL 33801

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