Long-serving Haverstraw town clerk Josephine Carella dies

Josephine Carella, 88, Haverstraw's town clerk for more

Josephine Carella, 88, Haverstraw's town clerk for more than three decades, died Nov. 23, 2012, of heart illness. (Credit: Handout)

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Josephine Carella, Haverstraw's town clerk for more than three decades and a beloved great-grandmother, died Friday from heart failure.

She was 88.

Carella, who worked for the past 47 years as a civil servant -- first for Rockland County's civil defense program -- was one of the longest-serving officials in New York State, said her son, Bernard Carella.

She long suffered from heart complications after battling rheumatic fever twice in her teen years, according to her family.

"This woman is a fighter," said Bernard Carella, 61. "People with those complications usually don't live beyond 45 or 50. She's really remarkable."

Josephine Carella married the late Joseph Carella in 1950 and they bore two children, Bernard and his sister, Carolyn Andrews, of New City.

Josephine Carella is also survived by three grandchildren, Kristin, Matthew and Julia, and a great-granddaughter, 5-month-old Arden Grace.

"She is a very special human being," Bernard Carella said of his mother. "She's a small woman but had the heart the size of the Grand Canyon."

During her 36-year tenure as town clerk, Josephine Carella married more than 3,000 couples, her son said. She continued to work two days per week until just a month ago, when she took a leave of absence.

"Every time we went to the Palisades Mall, someone who she married would recognize her," he said. "They would hug and it would make her so happy. She loved working with and for the people."

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Mary Parish, 46 Conklin Ave. in Haverstraw. She will then be buried at nearby St. Peter's Cemetery on Route 9W.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be to be made to the American Red Cross to help survivors of Hurricane Sandy.

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