Burial and Celebration of life were held in Espoo, Finland July 13, 2018
Josie was born on April 30, 1948 in Denver Colorado. She lived with her family; father Jack Pechman, mother Joan Phipps Pechman and older sister Judy in Denver. Josie and Judy were very close growing up, enjoying the same activities and playing together constantly. Having aunts, uncles and a grandfather who were cattle ranchers, Josie and Judy learned to ride horseback at an early age and were helping herd cattle by age 6 as well as playing various games on horseback including hide and seek, cowboys and Indians, and barrel racing. Their dad Jack taught Josie and Judy to ski, which became another sport the girls enjoyed together alongside other outdoor activities with family, with picnicking in the mountains being a favorite. Josie and Judy rode bikes all around the neighborhood and especially liked to ride bikes to a local swimming pool, an activity that took up a good part of their summer vacation. Although learning and being accustomed to Western horseback riding; as the girls got older, they were taught to ride English saddle by their grandfather Lawrence Phipps. They participated in Pony Club gymkhanas and eventually joined a fox hunt on horseback.
After graduating from high school, Josie attended the Lewis and Clark College for one year and then transferred to Boston University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History in 1969. Josie developed an interest in Finnish art and design, and in January of 1971 she visited Finland to learn more about the country; eventually deciding to stay for most of her life. Josie became interested in the Bahá'í faith shortly before moving to Finland and became a member soon after moving there. She was an active and greatly appreciated member in the Bahá'í community throughout the rest of her life.
During her first years in Finland, Josie lived in several parts of the country. Initially, she came to Hämeenlinna where she attended Viittakiven Opisto and, among other things, developed a love for gardening. Her next destination was Mikkeli, where Josie attended lectures at school, taught English to students, and bought her first apartment. After that, Josie lived in Savonlinna where she studied weaving for a year and earned a certificate as a weaver. Josie also lived in Tampere, before starting to work at a Bio-Dynamic Garden in Jorvas. There she worked in the garden for a few years and sold vegetables at the Helsinki Market Square (Kauppatori) by the harbor.
It was during her time selling vegetables at the Market Square that she became acquainted with one of her customers, Esko Kurkinen. They became good friends and eventually married in 1978. Josie and Esko built a house in the Kirkkonummi countryside and enjoyed the peaceful and luscious nature of that land that offered Josie the opportunity to garden, growing much of their food.
Josie and Esko were blessed with two children, Mariann and Lars. Josie was the heart of the home and her main priority at this time was devotedly taking care of her family as a home-maker. She was careful to raise her children to speak three languages; Finnish, Swedish and English. While raising her children, Josie became active in puppetry - a hobby that she and Judy had enjoyed together when they were growing up. She also joined and was active in a multicultural organization called the Familia Club (Agora). As her children grew older, Josie began teaching English to business students and also found time for studying neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
After her children were grown and on their own, Josie began another phase of her life, she became a full time student. Interested in psychology, Josie approached Saybrook University in California where she had the opportunity to study psychology online with a few visits to the US each year. She was especially interested in expressive arts and their impact on mental health and personal insight. She traveled many places to attend classes in expressive arts during her studies. Josie obtained a master’s degree from Saybrook University and continued her studies, including living in California in 2012-2014 to complete the clinical requirements needed to obtain a doctorate degree in psychology. Her doctorate thesis is focused on the transformative and healing effects of expressive arts therapy.
Shortly after completing her doctorate degree and returning to Finland in 2014, Josie was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. She lived in her own house for more than a year before moving to an assisted living facility. There, she spent the last 2 years and 7 months of her life, with daily visits from Esko, who saw to her every wish and need with tender loving care.
*Many members of Josie’s family contributed to this website: Josie’s daughter, Mariann Lindroos, her son, Lars Kurkinen, her daughter in law, Anna Kurkinen, her husband Esko Kurkinen and her sister Judy Hendricks