Josephine Coury Soma, 93, sadly passed away on April 22, 2020. She bravely fought Covid-19 and although her family could not be by her side when she passed, they were with her in spirit and will always be with her. She was never alone.
Josephine was born August 13, 1926 in Danbury, CT to her parents Thomas and Fannie Coury. Her father Thomas worked as a security guard for the Pentagon and they moved to Arlington, VA. She was the youngest of three siblings, Julie and Gen. All sisters were born 3 days and 2 years apart.
On June 6, 1950, she married Phillip Kogak Sr, a dashing young soldier just home from World War II where he and his 4 brothers served in the European Theater. There was a story in the local newspaper how all five brothers miraculously returned home safely.
She gave birth to her oldest son, Phillip Kogak Jr. Three years late she gave birth to her daughter Kim McGinnis and then three years later, to her youngest son, Anthony Kogak.
On a very sad day in her life, she received horrible news from the doctor. Her husband and love of her life was diagnosed with terminal cancer and only had six months to live. She stood by his side through his long and brave battle with cancer until he passed away in 1963. Left with three young kids to support and still grieving this huge loss, she immediately took over her husband's restaurant.
In 1969, she remarried to William David Soma who lived in California. So, she loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly where there were hills, swimming pools and movie stars.
William had three daughters and one son, and her blended family now resembled the Brady Bunch. She enjoyed working in the family cosmetic company called Tyra International, Inc. and was heavily involved in running the business.
A loving wife and mother, she is survived by 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. She will be sorely missed.
Celebration of Life for Josephine Coury Soma
August 13, 1926 - April 22, 2020
Eulogy By Phil Kogak
I would like to thank you all for visiting this site to pay tribute to our mom Josephine.
Mom lived a very full life, passing just short of her 94th birthday. Family, friends, being a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother were all things that meant the most to her.
In looking back at one’s life, there usually is one defining moment that can change a person’s life forever.
That moment was December 13th, 1963, the day our father passed away. That day, I know a part of her died along with him. She was devastated and it really took its toll on her. We were lucky to have a very supportive extended family, and stayed at our cousins’ house, while mom took the time to mourn her loss.
Eventually, we moved back to our house and it was that first day back that I will never forget. It was dinnertime and my brother, sister and I all sat down for the very first time, just the four of us.
Right away I saw mom begin to cry. I know she was trying to hide it from us, but I could clearly see the pain and anguish on her face. She looked over at me and noticed that I started to cry. The moment she saw me crying, I knew that she felt bad knowing the fear and pain she was feeling was now affecting her kids.
She got up from the table and went into the other room to compose herself. A few moments later, she came back, sat down and I immediately saw something different about her. She was calm and composed.
Even though I know she was feeling the pain on the inside, she never showed it. Mom had a confidence about her that I hadn’t seen before. From that point on, I never saw mom shed a tear. I think on that first night back, she knew that she had to be strong for her family.
Before dad died, mom was your typical 1960’s housewife and mother. She stayed home, took care of us and the house, while dad went to work. In the blink of an eye, all that changed in 1963. She was now a single parent raising 3 small children and had to run our dad’s restaurant. But she took it all on. She never complained, she never gave up no matter what life threw at her. The courage she had was unbelievable!
That’s what I remember most. That is what she taught me, not by lecturing, but by example.
I think it was for the love of her family that gave her the strength and courage to do what she did, and she did it well.
I have tried to live my life with the same principles she taught me, and to pass these onto my children as well.
She taught me courage, the confidence to never, ever give up, and the most important love for your family.
I love you, mom. I thank you for everything that you sacrificed for me, and it gives me great comfort to know that someday we will all be together again!
Eulogy By Kim McGinnis
My mom was a compassionate and loving soul. She was always there for me. When I had surgery, she was the first person I saw waking up and the last person to leave the hospital.
I really got to know her over the last 15 years because we lived together. My two kids, Chris and Sean, lived with us for a short time as well and she was a loving grandmother.
What amazed me was that she would always dress up and do her makeup before breakfast, even when she didn't feel well and never complained. Our favorite ritual every Saturday was going to the mall. She would get many compliments wherever we would go.
She was a very good cook. When growing up, dinner was always at 6:00 pm and the whole family was present. She taught me how to cook Lebanese food that my kids still love to eat today.
Mom loved her family and was always in touch with us no matter what each of us was going through. It's hard to list how many times she was there for me throughout the many years.
I love you mom. I know you are in a better place and out of pain. I will see you again. I know you are with Jesus and the loving angels and all who have gone before us. LOVE YOU….
Eulogy By Anthony Kogak
Words seem to fail me when I reflect on my mother's life. I am fortunate to be her son and it's an honor to call her my mother. I feel like it would take a lifetime to write all of the beautiful memories I shared with her. I hope I can convey how wonderful of a mother she was.
What strikes me the most when looking back was her strength as well as the love she had for her children. Even though she had many happy times, hers was not a life free of adversity. She faced many challenges and tragedies, but she overcame them with strength and dignity. And through all her struggles, she always put her children first.
When I was just a baby, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and the doctors gave him only six months to live but instead he lived many years after that. She stood by his side through his battle which I can only imagine was extremely difficult. When he finally passed away, she immediately went to work and took over our family restaurant to support her kids. This was not an easy task for a widowed woman with three kids in the 1960s. And to make matters worse, her mother died later that same year. Many people would have been crushed by this enormous stress and burden, but my mother managed to pull us all through.
Many years later, she was remarried to my stepfather who owned a highly successful cosmetic company in California, so we all packed up and moved west. Things were great until my stepfather began having legal battles with an unscrupulous business partner which put a financial strain on our family. So, my mother took charge and once again went back to work to support her family. We bought a restaurant that she ran and worked hard at for many years until the legal issues were resolved.
My mother was a fighter. When her health began to fail in her early 90s, I could see that every day was more and more of a struggle. I don't know how she had the strength to go on day after day, but she did and rarely complained. I believe it was the love she had for her children that kept her going. She fought until Covid-19 took her last breath. Although her kids could not be there by her side when she passed, we were with her in spirit and she was never alone.
After she passed, when I was going through her belongings, it surprised me to discover that she kept every birthday card I ever gave her. One in particular that I would like to share was a poem I wrote for her the year I moved out of the house:
To the greatest lady on this earth
The hell you've gone through since my birth
Those times when I was down and blue
You always managed to bring me through
All those years, living at home
Cooking me dinner, answering my phone
Now I've gone, I've left the nest
But to me, you're still the best
I'll never forget all that you've done
It makes me proud to be your son
You've given me some of your best hours
I'm sorry I could only afford flowers
Although this poem won't go down in history as fine American Literature, it sums up how I felt about her then, and how I still feel about her today after her passing. I love you mom and look forward to being reunited with you again.
Please visit the Guest Book below and leave a Tribute to Josephine Coury Soma. We would love to hear your memories, see your pictures, and read your kind words.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.
The gallery below is a tribute to Josephine Coury Soma from her family and friends.