Josephine Marie Franceschini "Josie" Gower
On Tuesday morning in the early Montecito hours, Josie Gower's life was tragically taken. This strong, adventurous, independent woman, whose effusive love of every aspect of life defined her, will be so sorely missed by her loving family; her children Briana and Al Haigh, and Hayden and Sarah Gower; her grandchildren Parker, Luca and Poppy; her partner Norm Borgatello; her sister Elda's family, the Castagnolas; and her many many friends and Italian relations.
Born in Santa Barbara in 1948 to Italian immigrant parents Mario and Maria, Josie Franceschini attended school in Santa Barbara before completing her nursing degree at Santa Barbara City College. However, Josie chose a very different life from nursing. As a young woman she chose to leave the US to sail through the South Pacific, and her adventures led her eventually to New Zealand where she married Kiwi rancher Jack Gower and where her two children, Briana and Hayden were born. But Santa Barbara and home always tugged at her heart, and in time Josie returned with the children and re-established her life in her hometown.
Over the following years Josie's reach within her community grew and grew. In her little red convertible she would be seen zipping to the properties she managed, she would happily grab a wrench or a paint brush or a hammer or would climb a ladder to repair and maintain those properties, and more than anything Josie expanded her circle of friends and contacts.
Simply, she loved people, making each new friend know how very special they were. There was nothing better than gathering with family or friends to celebrate. Her boundless energy was poured into making sure her own zest for life bubbled into every occasion. Josie particularly loved the Italian community events. One of her favorite activities was going to the Montecito YMCA. Known affectionately as "The Queen of the Y" she spent most days at the pool, swimming with her red lipstick intact, playing with her grandson Parker, chatting with the members.
Always true to her beginnings, Josie was dedicated to her church and she remained loyal to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Montecito and the church's community.
In more recent years Josie had begun to cherish the quiet times she spent with family and the companionship of her partner Norm. And more than anything, Josie adored her role as Nonna to Parker, Luca and Poppy.
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou
A celebration of Josie's life was held at the Santa Barbara Mission, Thursday January 18, 2018 at 10.00am; with reception to immediately follow at the Friar's Lounge, Santa Barbara Mission.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a fund dedicated to Josie Gower at the Montecito YMCA; 591 Santa Rosa Ln, Santa Barbara, CA 93108