top of page

A special Memory Arts Cafe was held on March 22 in honor and
in memory of Josephine.

The recording can be watched on the NYMC "live" YouTube channel.



Photos from the March 22 evening - click here

Essay by Josephine written in 2001


Ismail Butera, Artist in Residence/accordionist at the center

George Schumacher, caregiver

Barbara Ratzlaff, caregiver


Photo by Greg Pitkoff

In Memory of Josephine Brown
All of us at New York Memory Center are heartbroken at the sudden passing on February 28, 2024, of our former Executive Director and longtime staff member Josephine Brown. We send our deepest condolences to her husband Michael, daughters Sara and Joanna, and all her family members.


Josephine joined the program staff of Park Slope Geriatric Day Center’s Family Resource Center in August 2000. She worked as Program Manager and Program Director at PSGDC’s purpose-built dementia center. In 2006, Josephine recognized the lack of support and services for individuals living in the earliest stages of memory loss, and thus created Brooklyn’s first early memory loss program, the Lotus Club for adults of all ages. In coalition with a team of social workers she designed the program to include reminiscence therapy, a peer support group, journaling, meditation, and nutritional guidance.


At the time, reminiscence therapy and peer support groups for early memory loss participants were somewhat controversial, and today both methods are considered standards in the field of early memory loss programming. The Brookdale Foundation recognized the Lotus Club as a national model program in 2007.


When that center closed in 2011, PSGDC refocused its programming for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia under the new name New York Memory Center. Josephine was appointed Program Director for the remodeled 14th Street center.  She continued to develop innovative programming that has been recognized nationally for its contribution to the field. In 2014 Josephine was an honoree of the Brooklyn Women of Distinction awards for her work in the field.

Josephine Brown became Executive Director of New York Memory Center in 2016 providing stability and an atmosphere of warmth and love for the next 6 years. Michael Marcus, whose father was in the program, sent a note at the time of Josephine's retirement:

Been helping someone whose husband has early Alzheimer's in NJ. I have given her help in coping with the disease and resources.  As I talk all I hear is your beautiful voice and words come out of my mouth. And I remember how you said a little kindness goes so far. She has appreciated it so much.  All because of you. There is unfortunately only one JB.  You are always in my thoughts. Always. Thank you for being you.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Josephine started serving seniors at the age of 15 at the Madonna Nursing home in Park Slope Brooklyn as a volunteer. She moved on to staff as a Program Facilitator at Park Slope Senior Center where she led efforts to add innovative programming for seniors at the center and initiated a program for seniors concerned about memory loss which included exercise, nutrition and art therapy. She also supervised daily nutritional and kitchen duties.

Over the years, Josephine expanded programming at NYMC to include Occupational Therapy students from Columbia University, and New York University; art therapy students from the Visual School of the Arts; providing a free Caregiver Support Group; an AARP volunteer program; recruiting artists in residence and music therapists to impact programming; adding group based and computer based cognitive training; and working with youth groups to provide innovative programming.

bottom of page