Josy Wiener passed away on April 18, 2013. For those of you who knew Josy well, you know she usually said what she was thinking. In these days of subterfuge and shilly-shallying this was actually refreshing. If you wanted something sugarcoated, find someone else to sugarcoat it, please.
Josy was born in Berlin, Germany. During the frantic exodus from Germany in 1939, Josy and her family were allowed to emigrate to Chile, where an uncle had previously settled. While not at first understanding a word of Spanish, she quickly learned to make her way in an unfamiliar
environment. It was in 1949 that she was able to move to the United States. There were a couple of years traveling and moving from Indiana to California and finally to Miami. In the 1950’s, Josy joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Although she never saw active duty, she was proud to serve her adoptive Country. She went to work at Neiman-Marcus and by working during the day and going to school at night, got her cosmetology license and became a beautician. She worked for Neiman Marcus in various places including Havana. She opened her own shop, Bejo in Miami Shores and made it a success. She met her husband Ben in 1954 and they were married in 1961. In addition to her own shop, Josy helped Ben run his hardware store in Miami.
In 1964 on a trip to Sanibel, they became interested in shell collecting. Josy and Ben held many positions in the Miami Shell Club, as well as assisting in the Broward Shell Club. Josy and Ben were the recipients of the Neptunea Award, the first year it was given by the Conchologists of America. She and Ben were often COA reps for the Miami Shell Club and Josy held many different positions in that club .Josy, with Ben, traveled to many countries, making friends wherever they went. Through shell collecting contacts, she also traded shells with others in various parts of the world. They also supported the Shriners in Miami.
In archived photos, Josy and Ben are known for matching shell outfits. Josy will best be known for her tireless efforts to sell raffle tickets. The Miami Shell Club, the Broward Shell Club and the Conchologists of America were recipients of her efforts. Her cry of “Shake ‘em Up!!!” will long be remembered. Occasionally in life, you will come in contact with an individual unlike anyone else, and Josy was one of those unique individuals. She had a life that would have defeated almost anyone else, but managed to persevere and even thrive. She corresponded regularly with people from many countries. If she found an article she thought you would be interested in, it would show up in your mailbox with a short note, plus notes of encouragement in times of stress, times of joy and just notes. Her friends were often in her thoughts. Josy leaves one sister, Lilo Layton, in Miami and many nieces and nephews.