Josephine Destro, 101, a lifelong resident of Enfield, passed away on July 20. She was born on Dec. 26, 1920, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Giglio Destro and sister of Charles and Dominick. She attended Enfield Schools, and graduated from Bay Path College. She worked at the Veteran’s Administration in Hartford as an executive secretary, where she received numerous awards and citations for outstanding performance, and retired after 37 years of service.
After her parents passed away, she lived in the family home with her brother Charlie until his death in 2003, and then lived alone in her home for the rest of her life.
Josephine was a colon cancer survivor. After receiving a dismal prognosis, she underwent surgery and chemotherapy and went on to live for 40+ more years (while eating bacon daily for breakfast!)
During her retirement, she volunteered by bringing Bible Hour to the residents at Parkway Pavilion with her friend Charlann and also as a Veteran’s Benefit Counselor, where she would set up a table at the mall or event and offer her knowledge and services for free. She volunteered at Enfield’s “University of the Third Age” community enrichment program and served for a year as program director.
She spent many happy days on the golf course with her friends. She enjoyed reading, frequented the Enfield Library and enjoyed their book discussion groups.
She loved to travel and took trips with her friends to Italy, Spain and Portugal and throughout the United States, including Hawaii.
She loved to cook and bake. Her chicken cutlets were a holiday favorite (when there was any left for family after Uncle Charlie sampled them during the cooking process) as well as her own special pizza and her prize-winning sesame cookies.
She enjoyed countless holiday gatherings, pizza parties and picnics over the years with her family and enjoyed her grand-nieces, Joanna and Amy as they grew up, attending all their special events. Many gatherings included the Webber family and Jo always loved her good buddy, Marion Webber, with whom she had many happy adventures.
She was a fan of the UConn Huskies and New England Patriots and loved watching the games in her music room with a grinder or popcorn with Marianne and Ray. She loved her afternoon movies, and especially loved old movies, comedies and musicals. Mamma Mia was a favorite and her toes were always tapping throughout.
She enjoyed her nightly suppers with Judy and had a special bond with her nephew, Joe, who had a similar sense of humor.
She was a longtime member of Calvary Presbyterian Church, where she was well-loved by many friends. She was on their bowling teams back in the 1960’s and especially loved Pancake Breakfasts and PEP (People Enjoying People) luncheons. When she became unable to drive, church members quickly formed a list of weekly drivers to pick her up and bring her home each week, (sometimes the trips home ended up at Olive Garden first!), and when she was no longer able to attend, they visited, sent cards and weekly worship resources and brought church to her house. They even brought a 100th birthday outdoor ice cream party to her back yard, which truly lifted her spirits.
Josephine is survived by her niece, Marianne Goguen and husband, Ray, her nephew, Joe Destro and wife, Judy, nieces Joanna Fornwalt (Josh) and Amy Brown (Tom), and grandnieces Josie, June and Piper.
Her family would like to thank Kathy and all her wonderful friends at Calvary Church for their love and support, her special caregiver Lou, her friend and longtime hairdresser, Beth, who did her hair weekly at her home, and her caregiver Camille, who was brought to us by God to lovingly care for Jo physically and spiritually, during her final days. We also would like to thank Eileen and the hospice nurses at Visiting Nurse and Health Services for all of their support.
Calling hours will be held on Sunday, July 24 from 3-5pm at Leete Stevens Funeral Home, 61 South Rd., Enfield. A funeral service will be held on Monday, July 25 at 10 am at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 1518 King St, Enfield, followed by burial at Enfield Street Cemetery, and a luncheon at Calvary Church, to which all are welcome, where we can share more of our memories of Jo.
Memorial donations can be made to Calvary Church at the address above, to Enfield Public Library, 104 Middle Rd., Enfield, 06082, to Parkway Pavilion, 1157 Enfield St, Enfield, 06082 c/o Recreation Dept. or to Visiting Nurse and Health Services of Connecticut, 8 Keynote Drive, Vernon, 06066.