Josephine “Jo” L. Morales age 96, a resident of Fellowship Village Skilled Nursing facility, passed away on Saturday August 13, 2022 at Morristown Medical Center from complications due to Covid. She was born in New York City to her first-generation Italian parents Benedetto and Rosalia Latteri, from San Fratello Sicily. As a child, her family moved to Long Branch where she graduated high school. Five years after graduating college, she met and married Giacomo “Jack”Morales in 1953. They initially lived in Metuchen, then bought their first home in South Plainfield. They moved to Woodbridge and then to Warren for 23 years. Later moving to Branchburg, then back to Warren and finally to Fellowship Village in Basking Ridge after the loss of her husband.
Josephine had received her Bachelor of Science in Education from New Jersey State Teaching College in 1948 (now TCNJ); she was certified to teach elementary school grades 3 through 8 and 7 to 12. Many years later went on to further her education to be certified to teach Art.
Josephine had worked as an elementary school teacher in New Jersey for 26 years, first in Lakewood, Highland Park, then Woodbridge for approximately 7 years and finally finishing out her teaching career at Mt. Horeb School in Warren in 1981 where she taught for 15 years; retiring 1981. She was well known for her fun and elaborate art projects for her students in the classroom and school bulletin board displays.
While teaching, Josephine and her husband opened an art supply store called “Village Art Supplies and Custom Framing” in 1970 in Martinsville and later a wholesale art print distributorship called “Valley Art Prints”. Their business long outlasted all local Arts and Crafts stores in the area. Then they expanded by opening a second location in Clinton NJ. Together they ran their business for approximately 35 years, before they sold it. Josephine loved running her business, she quickly became experienced in a lot of the craft items they sold including decoupage, paper tole, quilling, needle point, and some watercolor, acrylic and oil painting. At the store she held adult group craft lessons for many of these crafts. Wherever she was her creative hands were never idle.
She was very accomplished at crocheting over her lifetime. She loved to help others; two years back she was interviewed by the channel 12 news team for crocheting over 400 chemo-caps for cancer patients and eventually over all 630.
Josephine was also an excellent cook for traditional Italian dishes, such as her homemade meat Ravioli and Cuccidati cookies (passed down from our families). She enjoyed watching old movies and listening to show-tunes from old plays and musicals, waltzes by Strauss, big band, and of course Italian music. She enjoyed collecting many elaborate music boxes and kaleidoscopes. Throughout her life Josephine frequently playedcards (Poker, Rummy, Penuckle and Bridge) with family or friends, but also enjoyed a good game of scrabble; when alone she would crochet or play word puzzles and advanced sudoku math puzzles right up to age 96.
Josephine was a member of the Our Lady of the Mount RC Church in Warren for many years.
She is predeceased by her loving husband Giacomo “Jack” Morales in 2010 and her brother Anthony B. Latteri and her sister Anne Marie Liquori.
Josephine is survived by her son John Morales and his wife Susan. She is also survived by two grandchildren Christopher Morales, Danielle Darpino-Drecksage and her husband Brian Drecksage Jr. and two great grandchildren Brian III and Riley Drecksage.
A visitation will be held on Wednesday August 17, 2022 from 4 to 8pm at Higgins Home for Funerals 752 Mountain Blvd. Watchung NJ 07069. A funeral mass will be offered on Thursday at Our Lady of the Mount Chapel in Warren at 11am followed by the entombment at Somerset Hills Memorial Park in Basking Ridge NJ.