The New York Turtle and Tortoise Society

Josephine at the 2006 Turtle and Tortoise Show
Photo by Allen Foust
Remembering Josphine Arnold, 1955–2013

Josephine Arnold, a long-time member and familiar face at the Annual Turtle and Tortoise Shows, passed away suddenly on Sunday, April 14, 2013. Josephine was a sweet and loving person, and a great friend to turtles and other animals. She will be deeply missed by her NYTTS family.

Viewing took place at the D’Arienzo Funeral Home in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday, April 22. A funeral mass was held on Saturday, May 11, at 9:30 a.m., St Francis of Paola Church, 219 Conselyea Street, in Brooklyn.

Those who knew Josephine are invited to submit remembrances and photos for this memorial page; please send to Barbara Daddario.

Snapshots of Josephine and Friends

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Nick Caruso writes:

Josephine was my girlfriend and stepmother to my two daughters, Christine and Helen, for the past twenty years. Our history started when my daughters and I met her at a New York Turtle and Tortoise Society meeting twenty years ago at the Museum of Natural History. From then we were inseparable. We attended NYTTS meetings, shows, and seminars and even won various awards in showing our tortoises through the years.

Josephine with her boyfriend,
Nick Caruso, at the 2005 Turtle and Tortoise Show ~ Photo by Kay Martin

She came into my life not long after my divorce and at the time when my younger daughter had been diagnosed with cancer. She was there for me as a true great friend and emotional confidant to not only me but to my extended family, and to my former wife's family. When she entered our lives, Josephine was the "glue" that really bonded my former wife, my girls, and me; because of her, my daughters had the benefit of having a mother, father and a stepmother raising them and sharing their milestones and precious times together.

Before her physical condition limited her activities, she was a true New Yorker who enjoyed viewing the city and its outer boroughs, walking miles and miles, teaching me everything there was to know about the history and happenings of our great city. Her encyclopedia-like knowledge was endless. Her passion for history, the unknown, spirits, cats, and turtles was fed by her voracious reading.

During her favorite time of year, she attended the annual New York Halloween and dressed up in a witch costume with a hat and black and purple velvet cape that she made. In her younger years, she was a collector of dolls from all over the world and sketched many of them and created outfits to dress them. Her latest project, just recently completed, was a set of dolls of the band Kiss, complete with the facial makeup, leather get-up, and huge boots!

Josephine also shared many of these wonderful experiences with her best friend of twenty years, Sara Ramos (a.k.a. “The Turtle Lady of Williamsburg”—also a long-time NYTTS member), as well as NYTTS member Joann Vacchiano, who passed in January 2011.  Josephine is survived by her sisters, Alice and ReRe, along with her nephews, Adam and Christopher, and her cats Timmy, Lum, and Ninja.