Josephine ‘Josie’ Ortega Garcia, 89, active member of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church

Josephine 'Josie' Ortega Garcia
Josephine ‘Josie’ Ortega Garcia

Josephine “Josie” Ortega Garcia, 89, passed away Monday, July 8, 2019, at her home surrounded by her family. She died from natural causes.

The youngest in the family, Josie, as she was known, was born Sept. 2, 1929, in Mendota, Texas, to Jose Samolia Ortega and Maria Carrillo Ortega. She was preceded in death by her older brothers, Gregorio Ortega, Francisco Ortega, Jesus Ortega, Jose Ortega Jr., Esidro Ortega, Ramon Ortega and Salvador Ortega, all of Texas.

Josie is survived by her cherished husband of 65 years, Aurelio Galvan Garcia; two daughters, Maria (J. Thomas) Floyd and Debra (Lonnie) Cross; six grandchildren, Lisa Ruwaldt, Toby Ruwaldt (Yen), Adam Cross (Julie), Tyler Cross (Lorlie), Vincent Cross and Matthew Floyd; and three great-grandchildren, Courtney Baker, Nolan Cross and Josie Cross. She also leaves behind numerous beloved nephews and nieces.

Josie moved to Canadian, Texas, as a child. In early 1952, she met Aurelio from Pampa, Texas, through a childhood friend. They began a courtship through letters while Aurelio was deployed to Korea. Aurelio came home one more time before they married Sept. 15, 1953. In their early years, Aurelio and Josie lived in Texas while Aurelio worked for the Santa Fe Railroad. Aurelio joined the U.S. Navy, and they lived in numerous states from the West Coast to the East Coast. Her favorite place to live was Escondido, California.

Aurelio’s last duty station brought them to Virginia Beach in 1974. They had always planned to return to their beloved Texas, but Josie’s desire to stay close to the grandchildren kept them in Virginia Beach. Josephine was an active member of St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church in her younger years and the Legion of Mary.

She was also a member of the Ladies Auxiliary Fleet Reserve Association, and the Oblates of Saint Benedict, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Josie was happy to serve as room mother for her daughters when they were in grade school and was happy to help with school activities with her grandchildren. When a grandchild was home sick from school, they were always certain to receive a get well toy and visit from her.

Josie’s happiest childhood memories were of riding horses on her parent’s ranch in Canadian, Texas. She had chores to do starting before sunup and ending long after sundown. She loved singing along with Tom Jones, the Beatles and Elvis Presley. She loved playing Michael Jackson songs and dancing with her grandson.

Visitation will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, July 12, at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 5345 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach. A Mass of Christian burial will follow at 11 a.m. at the church.

Share online condolences with the family at Rosewood-Kellum Funeral Home.

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