Josephine Mary Gibbons (nee McAuley), of Ryde, died last Friday (12) at the age of 91.

Josie was born in 1929 in Lambeth, South London, to parents of Irish extraction.

She was nine years old when the Second World War blitz began.

Her parents were determined to keep their children with them in London and at least once had to move house due to bomb damage.

Her family took shelter in the vaults below Waterloo Station during bombing raids.

She left school at the age of 14 and her elder sister, who worked at Iliffe and Sons, publishers, got her a job there.

She worked there for more than 20 years and was highly valued by her employers and loved by her co-workers.

This employment was interrupted in 1945 when Hitler's V1 and V2 rockets rained on London and the south-east.

Her parents decided her mother would take the younger children north under the evacuation procedure and Josie, though employed, was allowed to go to help look after the others.

They ended up at Saltburn where the V weapons could not reach and found rooms above a shop.

It was bitterly cold and Josie's mother went in search of coal for the grate; but the coal merchant told her the icy conditions were too dangerous for his horses; however a couple of hours later he brought them some, having wrapped the horses' hooves in sacking.

They stayed in Saltburn for about a year, and when the weather improved were able to explore the villages and hills of the North Yorkshire moors.

At this time, the boy who was to become Josie's husband was growing up ten miles west in Stockton-on-Tees.

In after years they would wonder whether their paths had crossed and some spark had been exchanged which brought them later together.

When it was safe to return to London the family did so and Josie returned to Iliffe's.

In 1957 James Gibbons finished his National Service and moved to London and also joined Iliffe's. I

n 1959 they married.

Josie introduced him to the delights of the Isle of Wight and they honeymooned in Sandown.

They had a son, Stephen, and a daughter, Maggie, and visited the Island several times before retiring here in 1999.

Her husband, County Press columnist, Jim, said: "She was kind and competent and had the knack of making people feel better without quite knowing how it happened. She was a peacemaker and could distract quarrelling children or warring adults with equal facility.

"Josie made the world better for people and the world is the poorer for her loss but much the richer for her having lived.

"She will be missed by all but particularly of course by her son, daughter and me, her husband of 61 years."