Josephine Wiley Sale

February 22, 1917August 28, 2021

Josephine Wiley Sale of East Hartford died on Saturday, August 28, 2021 having lived a remarkable 104 years! She was born on February 22, 1917 in Victor, New York, the daughter of Charles and Ethel Wiley Sale. In April of 1938, before her graduation from Simmons College School of Library Science, Josephine spent two weeks as a student intern at the Hartford Public Library. Upon her return to Simmons, she received a letter from Truman R. Temple, Librarian of the Hartford Public Library, offering her a temporary position at a salary of $100.00 per month. She accepted the position; and on June 18, 1938, immediately after her graduation, she began working at the Library. That temporary position evolved into a career that lasted 39 years until she retired on May 22, 1977. During her career, she was active in the establishment and promotion of the Library’s Collection of Hartford History. She became Head of the Reference and General Reading Department and Coordinator of Central Services at the Library as well as one of its Corporators. Furthermore, she was a lifetime member of the American and Connecticut Library Associations. In 1956, she moved to East Hartford where she became an active member of the First Congregational Church of East Hartford, serving as a Deacon, Deaconess and, of course Church Librarian. Nothing slowed Josephine down, not even retirement. After her retirement from the Library, she became a member of the Connecticut Society of Genealogists, avidly pursuing her family’s history. Josephine was predeceased by her brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Jeanette Sale, her beloved nephew, Allen Sale, and her dear friend and colleague, Dorothy Drysdale. She is survived by her great-niece, Heather Bessenaire of Escanaba, Michigan, her cousins Alison Sale of Glastonbury, and Pamela Sale of Victor, New York, her deceased nephew’s partner and her friend, Diane DePalma, of Newington and the many neighbors, friends, colleagues and countless visitors to the Library, all of whom were truly blessed to have had their lives touched by this wonderful woman. A memorial service celebrating Josephine’s life will be at the First Congregational Church of East Hartford, 837 Main Street, East Hartford on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 11:00 AM. All those in attendance must wear a mask (vaccinated or not), sit in alternate pews and practice social distancing. Private burial will be held at the convenience of the family. There are no calling hours. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the First Congregational Church of East Hartford, or the Hartford History Center of the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103, or a favorite charity of the donor’s choice. The D’Esopo East Hartford Memorial Chapel, 30 Carter Street, East Hartford have been entrusted with the care of the funeral arrangements. For on-line expressions of sympathy to the family, please visit


  • First Congregational Church of East Hartford
  • Hartford History Center of the Hartford Public Library


  • Memorial Service

    Tuesday, September 14, 2021


Josephine Wiley Sale

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Toni Fish

September 15, 2021

I was on the library committee with Jo at the First Church. We shared a love of books and reading. She was a remarkable woman ! I will miss our conversations. RIP Jo, you will be missed.