DRAGO, JOSEPHINE, 79
Josephine (Josie) Drago, 79, of Ocala, FL, slipped away peacefully Thursday morning, June 12, 2014.
She was born Josephine Gertrude Helen Muscat, a mischievous, spirited child, to the late Publio Muscat and Helen (Delia) O'Brien in B'kira, Malta on November 12, 1934. Her indomitable spirit helped her through her pain and sorrows, and multiplied her blessings when times were good. From the age of six, she was reared by the sisters at Good Shepherd Convent in Balzan, Malta. During the war, Josie would sneak out during air raids, witnessing first-hand enemy bombing raids on her small island home. At fourteen, she and her late brother Paul Muscat O'Brien boarded the SS Sobieski and set sail for America to reunite with their father in Brooklyn, NY. Twenty-two years later, she was very proud to become a U.S. citizen.
As a teenager, Josie loved sneaking off to Coney Island on school days to ride the parachute jump. There she met her future husband, James S. Drago. They married August 19, 1951 at Most Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, and were blessed with four children. Life in Brooklyn and then Long Island was a struggle, and money was scarce; but she worked tirelessly to make ends meet. Always young at heart, she'd still find ways to keep the laughter and music in her life. She couldn't sing, but loved to dance. The tragic loss of her eldest son Frank J. Drago in 1975 was the heartbreak of her life. She journeyed to new homes in Missouri, Nebraska, and finally, Ocala where, despite her sadness, she held on to that mischievous and spirited inner child. In all these places, she leaves behind a loving family and many wonderful, dear friends whose lives she touched, and who helped her in turn in so many ways over the years. It was in Ocala that she finally had the time to read, to pursue her love of gardening and chess, and to indulge her love of pasta puttanesca, chocolate and other sweet treats without the scolding eyes of her daughters.
Josie is survived by two daughters, Patricia A. Drago and her husband, Richard W. Weissmann,and Barbara A. King; son, James ('Jaimela') Drago; sister, Gina O'Brien Carabott; brother, Thomas O'Brien; sister-in-law, Maureen O'Brien; five grandchildren, Kelly Loss Jones, Bryan Loss, Kyle King, James Drago and Joseph Drago; three great-grandchildren, Elijah, Drake and Liam; and many beloved nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband, Jimmy; son, Frankie; parents; brother, Paul; and sister, Violet Busuttil.
A Memorial Service in celebration of Josie's life will take place on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 11:00 a.m. with Father Rick Hugli officiating at Roberts Funeral Home, Bruce Chapel West, 6241 Southwest State Rd 200, Ocala; (352) 854-2266. Josie will be laid to rest with her late husband in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Coram, Long Island, NY. For those who wish, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Please view and sign our online guest book at:
Published in Ocala Star-Banner from June 17 to June 18, 2014