Jacqueline Marie-Myrtho (Joseph) Hippolyte, was born on July 25, 1946, to Lamartine Joseph and Anna Romain, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Myrtho, as she was affectionately named by her sister-godmother Edith, was the youngest of 9 children born to Lamartine and Anna.
Myrtho was 18 years old when she emigrated to the United States, where she joined her sister in Brooklyn, New York. It was in New York that Myrtho connected with Felix Hippolyte, whom she knew socially in Haiti. Myrtho was a very ambitious young lady whose plans for her new life in New York did not include the eight-years-her-senior Felix. But, over time, Felix won over Myrtho’s heart and the two married in 1969. To their union, two daughters were born, Farah and Jennifer. They settled in Hollis Park Garden, buying their first home. As devout Catholics Myrtho and her family were parishioners of St. Gerard Majella RC Church and Our Lady of Lourdes RC Church.
In life, Myrtho was a force. Despite suffering from severe asthma that required frequent extended hospital stays, she lived with endless fervor, always bouncing back from any crisis the disease presented. Ever the socialite and quintessential hostess, Myrtho and Felix used any occasion to have a celebration at their home or to attend a ball. She was highly respected among her circles and always described as classy and sophisticated. Myrtho spoke four languages and understood five which were essential skills for her travels throughout Europe, Africa, Latin and South America, and the United States. Myrtho was an avid lover of music and the arts, collecting from many artists. She also loved poetry. Khalil Gibran, from whom she often quoted, was one of her favorites.
For many years, Myrtho lived and raised her family in the United States, but HAITI was rooted deeply in her soul. Her spirit never left it. She’d hoped to retire in Haiti in the home that she lovingly built there. She traveled home to Haiti nearly every year, many times with her daughters whom she raised with immense Haitian pride. For Myrtho, Haiti was home.
Over the course of her colorful life, Myrtho’s charismatic personality attracted many friends to whom she was fiercely loyal. Her home was never empty of friends and family that she cherished or was selflessly helping. Her welcoming spirit was a gift to the small spaces of the world she filled. Myrtho was always where she needed to be, whenever someone needed her, without judgement and with open arms. It is this dedication that we will all remember as we cherish her memory. Myrtho lives on through her relentless love that always enveloped us all.
On February 13, 2020, after having fought for her breath so many times, Myrtho passed away peacefully with music and her daughter Jennifer by her side. Upon that last breath, she joined Felix who entered eternal life in 1992; her sisters Denise Compere, Odette Bretous, Gisele Joseph, Edith Joseph; and brothers Jacques Joseph and Dr. Yves Joseph.
Myrtho leaves behind to celebrate her life, love, and spirit, her daughters Jennifer Hippolyte-Thomas and Farah Hippolyte; son-in-law&love James Thomas II; seven grandchildren, Brandon Jean-Louis, Justin Jean-Louis, Christian Jean-Louis, Jessica Thomas, James Thomas III, Jonathan Thomas and Joliene Thomas; three great-grandchildren, Ashton Jean-Louis, Jolan Jean-Louis, and Jaelie Jean Louis; two sisters, Josette Mauclair and Norma Guillaume; and a host of dear nieces, nephews, and grand nieces and nephews.
You may forget with whom you laughed, but you will never forget with whom you wept.
–Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam
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