Flossie Phillips was born in Shelby, Michigan, on July 26, 1902. She was the daughter of Thomas Bedford Phillips and Maude (Smith) Phillips. Her father owned a harness shop and made harnesses for many years in Shelby. She was the granddaughter of the first medical doctor in Oceana County, Michigan, Dr. Thomas Phillips, Jr. Dr. Phillips and his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth Hartt Phillips came from Ontario, Canada, to Michigan in 1849, among the first settlers of the county. Josephine spent her formative years in Shelby with her parents, two sisters, and three brothers. After graduation from Shelby High School, she journeyed to Grand Rapids, Michigan. On June 27,1919, she became a member of the graduating class of The D.A. Blodgett Home for Children. She worked with children a few years before she married and had children of her own. She married William Edward Dereimer about 1920. She married Frank Joseph Misner (1898-1970) Nov.23, 1922 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Josephine, after two marriages and three young sons, found herself a single mom in the Great Depression. The country was on the verge of World War 11 and all three sons were summoned to war. She declined a research position in Europe to work with doctors there as she felt compelled to preserve a home for her sons following their return from active military duty. Thus, she stayed in Grand Rapids and began her work at the West Michigan Branch Laboratory of the Michigan Health Department in 1937. Over the ensuring years, she was involved in tests in experimentation and subsequent discovery of a successful vaccine for whooping cough. (pertussis) Renowned scientists, Drs. Pearl Kendrick, a microbiologist and Grace Eldering, a bacteriologist, devised a program of research for the Michigan Health Department. Despite funding during the Depression, a few very dedicated laboratory technicians employed by the Health Department the work continued. Josephine Misner was a member of the select group of technicians who tenaciously researched to perfect a vaccine. The efforts of these doctors and their technicians changed the lives of this generations and generations to follow. The inoculation virtually ended the toll of the dreaded whooping cough disease. After leaving the Michigan Health Department in 1949, she was employed by several laboratories and in 1957, she assumed a position as a General Medical Technician in the Veterans Administration in California. She remained there until her retirement in 1967. She was an astute businesswoman throughout her lifetime. She was definitely a woman ahead of her time. Not only was she interested in her profession; she delighted in keeping abreast of happenings in family and friends. Truly, a woman who gave of herself so that others could be healthy and secure. Josie died Nov 12, 1996 at the age of 94 and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Shelby, Michigan. Contributed by Olive Fordham in Michigan
Shelby, Kent County
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