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Josephine "Jo" Turner

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TURNER, Josephine "Jo" (Vignone) Josephine "Jo" (Vignone) Turner of Farmington, widow of James Turner, died Tuesday, (April 14, 2009) at Amber Woods of Farmington. Born in Hartford daughter of the late Giovanni and Mary (Bonadies) Vignone she lived in the Hartford area all her life. Jo began her social work career in the 1940's at the former McCook Hospital in Hartford and was on site at the hospital when the first casualties of the Hartford circus fire were brought in. For her courage and tireless devotion to the patients and the families of the fire, Josephine received commendations from the medical staff and the hospital administration. She become Director of Social Work at McCook Hospital and served in that capacity until the hospital closed in 1975. In the same year, she became the first Director of Social Work at the newly founded John Dempsey Hospital/UConn Health Center. During her tenure at John Dempsey Hospital, she was instrumental in molding the character and spirit of the hospital. She served on a number of committees and represented the hospital with municipal and state officials to assure that the hospital maintained strong links with the City of Hartford. Her purpose was to establish protocols for the needy populations in Hartford so they would have access to the hospital. In addition to her management responsibilities, Josephine maintained a clinical caseload, never losing sight of her primary focus – the patients and their families. During the 1960's she served as founding member of the first interracial faith council sponsored by religious leaders from Greater Hartford. She was active with and maintained her memberships with the Urban League of Greater Hartford and the NAACP. In the early days, despite threats to herself and to her family, she remained steadfast to her soul based belief in equality. She was a life long advocate for human and civil rights for people of all races and faiths. In the 1970's the CT Chapter of NASW honored Josephine by selecting her as social worker of the year and awarded her a citation signed by the late Governor Ella Grasso. In 2002, Josephine received the National Association of Social Workers – CT Chapter's Lifetime Achievement Award and St. Joseph's College Distinguished Alumnae Award. For both awards, she was recognized for her unwavering commitment to the core essence of a medical social work. Surviving are her step children William Turner and his wife Wendy of West Hartford, Susan Turner of New York City; nieces and nephews, Mary Beth Creen, Elizabeth Ann Vignone, Prosper Chip Vignone, Leslie Vann, Susan Hunter; grand niece, Paula Vignone-Mezzanotte; sisters-in-law, Genevieve Vignone Young, Phyllis T. Vignone and long time best friend Patricia Verde. She was predeceased by two brothers Frank and Prosper Vignone; a sister, Angela M. Vignone and a nephew John F. Vignone. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday at Noon in the Church of St. Patrick, 110 Main Street, Farmington. Burial will follow in Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield. Calling hours are TODAY from 4-7 p.m. at the Sheehan Hilborn Breen Funeral Home, 1084 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford. Memorial donations in her memory may be sent to the Alyssa Suzzane Roy Memorial Foundation c/o the Farmington Savings Bank, 32 Main Street, Farmington 06032 or to the CT Childrens Medical Center, 279 Washington Street, Hartford 06106. Josephine's family would like thank everyone at Amber Woods of Farmington for the wonderful care they gave to Jo during her stay.

Published in The Hartford Courant on Apr. 15, 2009
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