Funny, generous, warm and loving

Published September 6, 2019

MELROSE — If cooking is love made visible then the many people in Josephine Kiklis’ life know how much she loved them. True to her proud Italian heritage “Jo” always had something delicious to eat for the many family, friends and guests that frequented her Auburn Street home in Melrose. Perhaps above all other recipes she will be remembered for her outrageous braciole-like meatballs. Deliziosa!

Josephine R. Barretto was born on March 7, 1938 in Medford one of 10 children to the late Nicholas Sr. and Phyllis (Ciulla) Barretto. Raised in that large Italian family meant taking care of one another, sharing and family style dinners where her father’s famous Polenta dinners would be served from one end of the long kitchen table to the other. Educated in Medford she was a graduate of Medford High School and moved to Melrose in 1967. Josephine died peacefully with family at her side on Tuesday, August 27, 2019. She was 81.

The adjectives funny, generous, warm and loving are just a few ways in which she will be remembered. Josephine had a terrific sense of humor, quick with a wide filter. Her home was always a place of hospitality and she was always present for her immediate and large extended family. An avid sports enthusiast she was faithful to her New England teams…especially the Red Sox.

Mourning her loss but celebrating her good life are her children, Charles J. Kiklis Jr. of East Boston and Phyllis M. Kiklis of Melrose; her grandchildren, Alexandra Kiklis of Melrose and Joseph Kiklis of Tewksbury; her siblings, Nicholas Barretto Jr. (Carol) of Medford, Louis Barretto (Joann) of Melrose, Michael Barretto (Gilda) of Melrose, Elvira “Vera” Ford (Ralph) of Tewksbury, Marie Lahew (Andrew) of Malden and the late John Barretto (late Rita), Anna Mangiasi, Phillip Barretto and William Barretto; close friends, Constance F. Sarcione and Elaine Sutton, both of Melrose; also survived by many nieces and nephews

Relatives and friends gathered in honor and remembrance of Josephine’s life during visiting hours at the Robinson Funeral Home, 809 Main St., Melrose on Friday, August 30 and again on Saturday before leaving in procession to St. Francis of Assisi Church, 441 Fellsway W, Medford, for her funeral Mass. Entombment followed in Holy Cross Cemetery Mausoleum.

In lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory may be made to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105. For online tribute visit