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Josephine Alford Carrigan



AAFA #0235

1906 LA –2001 CA





Written by her granddaughter, Seanne Carrigan, AAFA #0335


            Josephine Alford Carrigan was born 22 July 1906 in Tangipahoa Parish, LA. In 1936 she married Marvin D. Carrigan in Houston, TX. Josephine died at age 94 on 3 February 2001 in Pleasanton, Alameda Co., CA.

            Throughout her married life to my grandfather, Marvin Carrigan, she always took in boarders. During World War II my grandparents lived in Richmond, CA, the home of Rosie the Riveter. They had a small boarding house where those riveters lived. Although her house was full, she always had room for one special boarder who came on the weekends and school holidays from a nearby school: her niece, Mattie Lou. She would come to stay with her family and sometimes meet up with her mother, Vesta, who was stationed Fort Ord, CA.

            After the war, Josephine continued to take in boarders wherever they lived. This became a business in the 1950s when she and my grandfather opened their first convalescent hospital. As she grew more confident in this business, she noticed that not everyone cared for their patients as they should, so she got other like-minded owners together and formed the California Nursing Home Association. She helped with the passing of legislation to govern the care and wellbeing of the patients in nursing homes throughout the state. As these standards were put in place, other states followed suit in issuing similar rules to protect those in nursing homes.

            After her husband died in 1965, Josephine continued to work until 1988, when her family got her to retire by selling the last business she ran, a residential care facility, for the elderly—where she was the oldest of them all!

            When she wasn’t working, she was traveling with her good friend Esther Hutchins, honorary Alford, around the world. As far as anyone can tell the only two places they never visited were the southern part of Africa and Cuba.

            Josephine’s favorite travel story is from her trip to China. Josephine and Esther were on one of the first tour groups allowed into the country. They saw everything and had a wonderful time, until they reached the Great Wall of China. The rest of the members of her tour group were exhausted—they looked at the Wall said, “That’s nice. When do we get to go the hotel?” Josephine, the oldest one on the tour, asked if anyone wanted to go onto the top of the Wall. They all replied that they were much too tired, so Josephine took guide in tow, climbed the stairs, and looked at and out from the top of the Great Wall of China. Coming back down she saw her tour looking at her with amazement. All she could do was chuckle and say if she was here she was going to look at the top too. In her later years, her big trip of the year was the Alford Family Reunion. She would plan her trip the week after she got back from the last. She would start working on members of the family to go with her. She succeeded in getting almost everyone to at least one meeting, if only for dinner. At the Pleasanton meeting she managed to get her son, both granddaughters, a brother, two sisters, nieces and nephews and a cousin she hadn’t seen in thirty years.

            It was at this meeting the Alfords learned that her two passions were baking and canning. Everyone at the meeting received a jar of jam made by Josephine and Esther. What most didn’t know was that two months after the meeting she baked 60 pecan pies for friends and family. This was down from the high of 112 she had baked a few years before.   

            Josephine is survived by her son Daniel; her grandchildren Ray [AAFA #538], Seanne [AAFA #0335], and Shannon [AAFA #539]; her great-grandchildren Keeley, Kendall, and Stephen; and many nieces and nephews scattered throughout the country.

            When Josephine passed away in the winter of 2001, she missed the birth of her great-great-grandson by three and half months. His name is Joseph Tyler, who by all accounts has the temperament, charm, and look about him that reminds many of his great-great-grandmother Josephine.


Photo from Lone Tree Cemetery, Hayward, Alameda Co., CA—

Photo copyright 2006 by Deborah Ratto Dash – permission granted


AAFA NOTES: SSDI records confirm the birth and death dates of Josephine L. Carrigan (SS# issued in CA), last residence Pleasanton, Alameda Co., CA.

            We included the obituaries of her father, Murray Luther Alford Sr.; and half-brothers Murray Peter Alford and Murray Luther “Plug” Alford Jr., AAFA #0236, in Louisiana Obituaries; and her sisters Edna Vesta Alford Giddings, AAFA #0233, and Betty Lydia Alford Davis, AAFA #0223; and half-siblings Helen Singer Alford Cook and Jacob Harris Alford Sr. in Texas Obituaries.

            For more information about this family, see AAFA’s published genealogy, Descendants of Jacob Alford, b. 1761 NC and the genealogy of Jacob’s son, John Seaborn Alford 1807 LA.

            Her lineage: Josephine Louise 1906 LA1, Murray Luther 1873 LA2, Marshall Thomas 1839 LA3, John Seaborn 1807 LA4, Jacob 1761 NC5, Julius 1717 VA6, James 1687 VA7, John 1645 VA8.