In Memoriam: Josée Stark (1947-2015)

Luxembourg born, Josée met Michael while working as a nurse in Switzerland. She left her homeland and family to begin a new life in the U.S., continuing nursing while Michael became a physician.

Choosing Judaism, Josée made a Jewish home for daughters Michelle and Nicole, welcoming grandchildren Caleb, Miriam, Leah and Waylon. She was a President of ORT as well.

In 1984 she was chosen as Attaché for the Luxembourg Olympic Team in Los Angeles. For her service, she was awarded the coveted “Order of Merit” from the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

I loved that she said the cats were snoring instead of purring…every time she spelled her name on the phone she made sure to let them know there was an accent aigu on the first “e” of her name to no avail, forever receiving mail as “Jose Stark.”

Life Lessons: have a glass of water after each glass of wine…wine is appropriate at almost any occasion…don’t sweat the small stuff…if it won’t matter five years from now, it’s not important.

Listened to your problems, remembered and asked about them later. She was universally loved. When she first needed help with meals and company, over 30 of her friends signed up. That was three years ago. Almost daily for the duration, friends would come to care for the friend who always put others first. Her joy of life and other people shined through in all she did.

The Chaplain Remembers
I met a nurse struck with multi-systems atrophy, a rare degenerative neurological disease and her physician husband. For two years we explored her special place:her garden. When she could not walk anymore and later could not speak, we explored the Huntington and Descanso Gardens with our minds’ eyes, imagining the lovely flowers and streams. Josée was as beautiful as these gardens.
—Chaplain Ronnie Abrams, RN

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