It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our beloved JCOA family member Olivia Cardona.
Olivia Cardona passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida surrounded by her family. She was 77 years old. Beloved mother of four surviving children: Genny Bernat (Jaime), José Zorrilla, Jannette Zorrilla-Kaufmann (Clint) and Lili Kaufmann (Allen). She was the proud Gita of six beautiful grandchildren: Juan Alberto “Chachi” Bernat, Jessica Janette “Jessi” Bernat, Charles Allen “Charlie” Kaufmann, Katherine Olivia “Katie” Kaufmann, Thomas Allen “Tommy” Kaufmann and Isabela Sofia “Issa” Zorrilla. Olivia is preceded in death by her parents José Maria “Papa Pepe” Cardona and Tulia “Abuelita” Arcila de Cardona. She’s also preceded in death by four of her eight siblings: Hector Cardona, Oscar Cardona, Jorge Octavio Cardona and Rosa Yolima Mejia. She’s survived by four siblings Esneda Fasel Cardona, José Ramiro Cardona, Luz Daniela Giraldo and Nancy Cardona. She was a loving aunt to dozens of nieces and nephews who adored her and she adored them in return.
Olivia was a two-time breast cancer survivor and a strong-willed woman who put her children and family first. She was also very proud to have become a U.S. Citizen in 1985. Olivia passionately enjoyed three careers. She started out as a teacher in her native Colombia, South America. In 1968, she moved to the United States and while raising her family she began her second career as a histotechnologist in New Orleans, Louisiana. Olivia survived Hurricane Katrina, lost her home and job. She was one of many who helped rebuild New Orleans, the city she loved and long-called home. Her final career gave her an immense amount of joy. She joined the Jefferson Parish Council on Aging to help the senior community. She received many accolades for her work. She was adored by her furry grandbabies: Lady, Mila, Pepper, Sparky, Midnight, Ella, Remi and Evie. Olivia was a member of various social clubs throughout her life, including the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, Young Elders and El Club Colombiano. She loved being around her friends, enjoyed dancing, shopping and making others feel special.
Olivia was the subject of our Purple Martin Spotlight in 2017.