Josephine Bilyew

Josephine Bilyew, of Defiance, was born to Joseph and Jean Rabdau in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, on August 11, 1930. She passed away on February 5, 2017, at the age of 86. God has brought her home to be an angel watching over her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

One of 11 children, Josephine spent her childhood in La Grande, Oregon, before moving to Tacoma, Washington. She graduated from St. Leo’s high school and studied to be a registered nurse at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Pendleton, Oregon, graduating in 1950.

Josephine worked at Madigan Army Hospital where she met and married Robert Bilyew on January 23, 1954. They settled in Hayward, California, before moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana, to start a family. In 1962, the family moved to Defiance, Ohio, and has resided there ever since.

She spent over 30 years as a dedicated nurse at Defiance Hospital, retiring in 1995. She felt rewarded by helping others in need and instilled this in her children and grandchildren.

Josephine is predeceased by her sister, Joan; and brothers, Hugh, Joseph, Jerry and Johnny.

She is survived by her husband, Robert, of 63 years; children, Robyn (Dennis) Horg, Holly (Mike) Fitzgerald, Joe (Joan) Bilyew, Jill McDonald and Sue Bilyew, all of whom will carry on her legacy of family, hard work and independence. Also surviving are grandchildren, Kathleen (Jedediah) Keesbury, Lucas (Chrissy) Horg, Chris and Dylan Fitzgerald, Adam and Eric Bilyew, Jonelle (Ed) Diefenthaler, Jaimee (Matt) Frey, Jason (Hillary) Green and Hunter McDonald; great-grandchildren, Adrienne, Owen, and Gavin Frey, Nolan and Porter Diefenthaler, Leiv, Jesse, Jamison, and Pierce Keesbury; sisters, Judy Chaney, Jean Tacchini, Janet Englehart and Julie Metzger; and brother, Joel.

She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Visitation is on Friday, February 10, from 9-11 a.m. at Lawson-Roessner Funeral Home. Services are at 11 a.m. Friday in the funeral home, with Deacon Jeff Mayer officiating. Burial will be in Riverside Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to CHP Defiance Area In-Patient Hospice Center, 06817 Ohio 66, Defiance, Ohio. Condolences may be shared at

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