Josephine Rodriguez (née Ruiz) passed away on March 8, 2021. Affectionately known as “Jo”, she was born to Juan Ruiz and Maria (Roman) Ruiz March 19, 1939 in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the fourth of six children. At age 8, her family moved to Bronx, NY where she and her siblings continued to grow up and live a very close-knit and loving childhood and where she met her husband.
Soon after the birth of their first child they moved to New Jersey and had 3 more sons. In 1972, the family moved to the Hockanum Village area of Hadley, Massachusetts, where she was a long-time resident.
In her mid-40’s, Josephine went to college at nights and on weekends, while working full-time jobs to support her family. In May 1990, she graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and subsequently had a long career in special education, culminating as a highly respected speech therapist in the Springfield elementary school system.
After her retirement, she settled in Easthampton, MA and continued to relish in her family-centric life with her 4 grown children and their families. Josephine was a deeply caring and loving mother to her four sons, her daughters-in-law and her three grandchildren.
She loved living in the Pioneer Valley, enjoyed visiting Cape Cod and long walks on the beach. Just as much, she enjoyed seasonal drives through the hill towns during the beautiful fall foliage and the festivals held. She dreamed of traveling and enjoyed reminiscing about her trips to Italy and Japan. She was a lover of good food and wine. She especially enjoyed shopping local at the River Valley Market and Whole Foods. But family was always first for her and the times she’d spend with her sons, their families and her siblings always brough her the most happiness.
Josephine was a true survivor throughout her life, first battling and overcoming tuberculosis when she was just 10 years old, spending several years in in a sanatorium for her recovery. She then beat breast cancer over twenty years ago. Even a broken hip two years ago did not stop her from living her life to the fullest.
Josephine loved people and they loved her. She was known for her huge heart, generous spirit, and a fervent belief in always putting family first which accounts for her success in being able to attend college classes in her 40s while working full-time to support her family. This drive to care for others is reflected as well in her being warmly embraced and a dear friend to everyone outside her family who was lucky to have known Josephine.
Josephine is survived by her four sons, Michael, and his wife Kathleen; Christopher, and his partner, Claudine; Paul, and his wife, Julie; and David, and his wife Kayo, and her two surviving grandchildren, Jared and Lila. (While Josephine adored all the boys in her family, she was tickled to finally have a granddaughter in Lila.) Josephine is also survived by four of her siblings, Carmen, Gilbert, Manuel and Audrey. She was predeceased by her first grandchild, Caleb and her sister, Blanche.
A celebration of life is planned for Josephine tentatively, in spring 2021. She was cremated and her ultimate resting place will be lovingly determined by her four sons.
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