Josephine Way-Phillips, 54, of Somerset, New Jersey, passed away on April 24th, 2023, after a courageous three-year-long battle with pancreatic cancer.
Josie was born to Esther Cardona on July 6th, 1968, in The Bronx, New York. Her mother and siblings, Thomas and Rosalind Torres, described Josie as a quiet and loving child who was very attached to her home and family life. In her adolescence, she attended Lord Stirling and Sacred Heart Elementary School, and in her later teenage years, she graduated from St. Peter’s High School in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Post graduation, Josie completed cosmetology school and briefly worked as a stylist before attending and graduating from Rutgers University with a Liberal Arts degree in Spanish. Shortly after, she began teaching ESL in New Brunswick, then Spanish at Piscataway High School. She developed a passion for education and met one of her dearest friends, Amarfi Herrera.
In December of 1997, Josie met her future husband, Irving Phillips Jr, with whom she enjoyed spending time by frequenting all of their local coffee shops and traveling to New York City. Nearly two years later, they married in March 1999 with their family and friends in New Brunswick. After that, Josie began teaching at Highland Park High School, where she remained until 2020.
Aside from being a passionate Spanish teacher and loving wife, Josie was a fiercely dedicated and devoted mother to her two children, MarcosEnrique and IvanaTaina. Josie loved spending time with her children outdoors and frequently took them to parks, zoos, and the beach. Josie and Irving loved to take family vacations and created lasting memories with their kids on their adventures.
Josephine was proud Puerto Rican and frequently displayed her cultural pride through her love of the island’s national animal, the coqui. She also loved purple and ensured that her favorite color was accented to her home, classrooms, and car. Another one of Josie’s passions was celebrating the holidays with her family. No matter the occasion, she was always excited to get into the holiday spirit by planning and decorating her home. Josie was also an avid animal lover, and she poured that affection into her dogs Ivie who passed away, and Lola, who remained by Josie’s side until the very end.
Josephine Way-Phillips was predeceased by her sister Rosalind. She is survived by her husband Irving, mother Esther, brother Tommy, children Marcos and Ivana, and a host of beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
The family would like to thank everyone for gathering to honor Josie’s memory and for showing their love and support during this difficult time.