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Josephine Purcell

1936 - 2022


Josephine Marie Purcell (née Cawley) peacefully entered into her eternal rest surrounded by her children on June 10, 2022. She was 85 years old. Josephine, the 3rd of 6 children, was the daughter of Irish immigrants, John and Anne Cawley, of County Sligo and County Galway respectively. Josie was raised on 96th Street on the East Side of Manhattan in St. Francis de Sales Parish and was a proud graduate of Cathedral High School. In her younger years, Josie enjoyed a successful career with Metropolitan Life Insurance Company; spending summers in Rockaway, the Hamptons, and the Jersey Shore; spending Sunday evenings dancing at the Yorkville Casino; and watching the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from the fire escape of her apartment. You always knew Josie was there by her laugh and she was never short on kisses for her nephews after she put on red lipstick. Josie turned down several marriage proposals before finally accepting the one from the love of her life, Joseph Purcell. Joe was a graduate of Cardinal Hayes, on the FDNY Lieutenants list, and was a member of the FDNYs first Super Pumper System, Satellite 1 - she knew he was smart and they would have smart kids. After starting their family and moving to New Hyde Park, Josie was an active member of the Notre Dame School and Parish communities. She was instrumental in establishing the first kindergarten at Notre Dame, she was a member and President of the school board, a member of the Rosary Society, room mom, lunch mom, and participated in all school functions. Joe and Josie always stressed to their children the importance of a good education and being able to support yourself and your family-and they certainly taught by example. Josie and Joe always made sure the kids had everything they needed to be successful in school, even when it meant Josie would type papers at the last minute and sneak them through the side door of school between classes so the assignment would be handed in on time. Josie tirelessly and selflessly cared for the kids and the house while Joe studied, got promoted, and worked all the over time he could handle-he was an FDNY Battalion Chief and he earned his BS in Fire Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice - and she was just so proud of him. Ever the punctual chauffeur (Josie never accepted the charges from the collect caller, “Pick Me Up”), she always got the kids to basketball games, swim meets, sports, and activities on time and was the best cheerleader they could ever ask for - she was their head-start. Always proud but never boastful, she reveled in the successes of her children. Josie took great pride in her home and delighted in watering the grass and watching her pink impatients and azaleas grow through the summer. In their later years, Joe and Josie enjoyed traveling and were active members of the Knights of Columbus.

Josie never tired of a good cup of tea, a good smoke, the sight of a handsome firefighter, or the Irish program on the radio on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Josie was smart, strong, capable, independent, resourceful, and for her children, she always had the right answer, knew just what to say, and had a way of predicting the future.

Beloved mother of Joseph Purcell (Louise), Ann Duguid (George), and Margaret Neville (Anthony). Cherished grandmother of Joseph (Teal), Maureen, William, Grace, PJ, Caitlin, Sean and Tara. Josie is predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Joseph D. Purcell, her parents John and Anne Cawley, sister Anna May Cawley, brothers Tommy and Eugene Cawley, brothers-in-law Tommy Toohey and William “Bill” Purcell, beloved nephew Francis Cawley and niece Baby Marie Cawley. She is survived by her sister Margaret “Peggy” Toohey, brother Johnny Cawley, brother-in-law Patrick Purcell (Simone) and sisters-in-law Marie Cawley and Mary Danklefsen (Al), and many nieces, and nephews. ‘Twas Heaven Here With You, Mom.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Josephine’s name to:



Sunday, June 12, 2022

4:00 - 8:00 PM

New Hyde Park Funeral Home

506 Lakeville Road, New Hyde Park, NY


Monday, June 13, 2022

10:45 AM

Notre Dame R.C. Church

45 Mayfair Road, New Hyde Park, NY


Holy Rood Cemetery

111 Old Country Road, Westbury, NY


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