Cover photo for Josie Dee Kirton's Obituary
Josie Dee Kirton Profile Photo
Josie Dee Kirton

Josie Dee Kirton

Josie entered this world on a warm summer night on the 23rd of August, while a crescent moon hung in the sky — a sign of the potential she held and the blessing she was to be to many. Josie was born to Hortensia and Alfredo Riollano, their first-born daughter and the third of an eventual eight children. Since her parents had both left Puerto Rico — la isla del encanto — years earlier, it was la isla de Manhattan that was first graced with Josie’s presence when she was born at Metropolitan Hospital. Josie’s childhood shaped her into the woman she became. She loved to share memories of the animals that her father and her brother, Albert, brought home. These same animals become family pets because her mother could never deny nurturing a living creature. Josie always spoke of her mother with such honor and reverence, and often referred to her as “the best mother ever” as she fondly recounted stories of her mother buying ice cream for all of the kids on the block. Losing her mother at a young age was a heartache that never got lighter, but while she and her siblings faced trials and tribulations, they had the love and support of each other. It is often spoken of how meticulous and well put together Josie was, even as a child. Nobody could sit on her bed except for her sister, Rachel. She would absolutely know if any of the items on her dresser were touched. (And later in life, ingrained in her children that all labels in the refrigerator and cabinets should always be facing forward, no excuses!) She had a deep sense of pride in always being “presentable” and never left the house without a final adornment of earrings and intoxicating perfumes. While perplexing and even entertaining to some, her meticulousness and attention to detail were traits that made Josie an exceptional nurse and healthcare provider. This was second only to her being such a charming “people person”. Josie was beloved. And she was able to talk to anyone on their level — be it a patient, their family, or a colleague. She not only made you feel heard, she cared deeply and was solution oriented. Her dedication to growth throughout her career was an inspiration to witness as she served her community. After attending IS 109 (Queens Village) and Queens Vocational High School, Josie graduated from Helene Fuld School of Nursing. She worked as a staff nurse at Midway Nursing Home, then went on to spend most of her career at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center (JHMC). She started as a Medical / Surgical staff nurse before moving to the Neonatal Unit in 1995. In 2001, she ascended to Assistant Head Nurse of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. In 2005, Josie graduated Magna Cum Laude from Lehman College with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She then served as Clinical Nurse Manager, first at Medisys Ambulatory Care Network, followed by the Mother / Baby Unit. Josie continued to dive deeper into academic excellence and went on to graduate as a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing with her Master of Science in Nursing Administration in 2018. Shortly thereafter, Josie became Assistant Director of Nursing at JHMC and worked, giving her all, until retirement in 2024. If it was up to Josie, she probably would have never retired, as she truly loved being a nurse. She honored her calling to help others, and she left a lasting impact on everyone that she crossed paths with at Jamaica Hospital. While helping to care for everyone else’s babies, Josie had three of her own. Tiffany, Dianicia, and Guy each had their own unique relationship with Josie — but she loved them all dearly. The love that flows through her exists within them, and they are carrying her legacy of providing care to communities. Tiffany has followed a very similar path to Josie and is also a registered nurse and doula. She had the honor of caring for Josie during her last season here. Dianicia is a veterinarian and a traditional birth worker. Guy is currently in school, on his way to becoming a physical therapist. Though born under a summer moon, Josie felt most at home under the summer sun. She experienced the most joy when had some warm weather to luxuriate in and some good music to dance to. A lover of “Old Hollywood” and the finer things in life, Josie existed with a glamorous aura that one couldn’t help but be affected by. On June 18, 2024, Josie peacefully ascended to join the ancestors and has already been welcomed by her mother — Hortensia Gonzalez, her mother-in-love — Joan “Val” Kirton, and her sister — Maria “Mara” Hunter. She is survived and will be deeply missed by…❤️ her children… Tiffany Ivey, Dianicia Valencia, Guy Kirton, daughter-in-love Jamai❤️ her grandchildren… Bryan “Ricky” Ivey-Williams, Pax and Lux Kirton❤️ her siblings… David Madera, Alfredo “King” Riollano Jr., Albert Riollano, Raquel “Rachel” Riollano Rosario, Vicky Riollano, Robert Felix, sister-in-love Karen Orange, brothers-in-love Dario Rosario, Darryl Orange, Kenneth Kirton, and Andrew “Andy” Hunter❤️ her nieces and nephews… Lamel, Martel “Markie”, Freddy, Raquel “Boobie”, Nicholas, Sabrina “Brina”, Rebecca “Becky”, Michael, Nelly, Jesus Jr. “Jay”, Giovanny “Chuchi”, Denise, Ricky, Randy, Teddy, Johnny, Dominic, Mikaela, Liahnna… and all of her friends and family.

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