In Memory of Greta Josephy '87

Greta Josephy

Greta, who died on November 3rd 2012, had lived in Divinity Road since 1977. She qualified at the Middlesex Hospital in 1964 and worked as a nurse, with breaks to look after three young children,until she retired in 2004. In 1987 she trained at Oxford Brookes to be a community nurse and since then she visited, treated and supported hundreds of patients in and around Oxford. She loved her work and always spoke about her patients with warmth and understanding, even the difficult ones. Her only hard words were about unnecessary bureaucracy or anything she perceived to be unkind.

Greta’s interests were wide: music, art, travel, the countryside and in particular her beloved Cornwall, gardening, but above all in people. She was a founder member of the Divinity Singers and sang with the Oxford Harmonic Society, for whom she rarely missed a concert. After retiring, she struck a perfect balance between developing her own interests and continuing to sustain others. She helped children learning to read at East Oxford Primary School where she was much loved by those she worked with. Many friends and neighbours are eternally grateful for Greta’s help and support, particularly when people were ill or dying or bereaved or just going through a difficult time. She always hit the right note: effective but unobtrusive, a calm and reassuring presence when things were hard. For her extended family Greta was a cornerstone around whom members gathered to celebrate in good times and to be supported in difficult ones.

Greta’s diagnosis of a rare lymphoma in 1999 was met with typical optimism and determination to make the most of whatever time was left. As it turned out, her treatment was very effective and for most of the time since then she was fit and active. Not only did she seem to have almost limitless energy and enthusiasm in everyday life; she went, with Richard, on four extended camping trips to Italy. These often included long walks in the hills and Greta also climbed many of the Lake District hills during family holidays there.  Only in the last few months was she really poorly, and even then her positive approach to life and her concern for others shone through. Throughout her illness Greta was under the care of the Haematology Department at the Churchill Hospital. The treatment, care, consideration and kindness she received there were outstanding and she felt privileged to live almost next door to such a centre of excellence.

Greta is missed dreadfully by her family and her many friends, but they are sustained by memories of her warmth, kindness and love of life.

Written by her husband Richard Josephy