With her family by her side, Josie Caroline Stanley-Reiter of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, passed from this world on February 3, 2019, at the age of 44.
Born on December 1, 1974, in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Josie’s life’s work was devoted to helping others. Not only did she love her own children deeply, she also was an advocate for the children whose welfare she fought for through the legal system.
In 2005, Josie married Putnam Reiter. The two had an instant connection. He was drawn to her intelligence, wit, strict attention to detail in every aspect of her life and the way they were able to work through anything with honest and open communication. Of course, because Josie was a lawyer, Putnam would tell you he never won an argument. He lovingly describes their relationship as never seeing a dull moment. She loved his kindness, the way he made her feel safe, that he allowed her to be herself, and she said they were two sides of the same coin.
As a mother, Josie was a fierce advocate for her children, whom she loved immensely. She was always building memories with them and sharing about their achievements and adventures. Though she had no prior knowledge of soccer, she learned the rule book and coached Alexander’s soccer team for several years. Some of her favorite memories included special birthday parties including one for Andrew at the Museum of Natural History and a firefighter birthday party for Alexander. Getting dressed up for Halloween was one of their family’s favorite times together.
Josie earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a paralegal option from Northeastern State University and then went on to receive her Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma. She worked for the Cherokee Nation and several law offices before becoming a staff attorney at the Oklahoma Indian Legal Services.
Most recently Josie worked as a juvenile court case manager for the Oklahoma County District Court. There, she was responsible for assisting the court with ensuring juvenile cases were processed through the courts in a timely and effective manner. Josie tracked cases, collected data and monitored open cases to ensure compliance with all federal and state statutory requirements and encouraged accountability and communication. She increased the flow of information to the court by acting as a liaison between all parties and attorneys.
With a deep passion for her Cherokee culture and tribal history, Josie served as a resource on Native American law for many. She was instrumental with starting the Court Improvement Project’s ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) workgroup, which assisted in providing education to state court judges and court partners on the Act.
Josie advocated strongly for the creation of an ICWA bench guide for judges and lawyers to have as a quick reference tool. She was instrumental in writing and compiling the recently completed bench guide for those with questions on the court’s responsibility to Native American children and their families who were involved in a child’s welfare. She was a resource even to her fellow case managers.
Friends and coworkers describe Josie as dedicated and hard-working. She made sure that children in the child welfare system had presents at Christmas and recruited her coworkers to contribute as well. Josie went beyond the requirements of her job and stayed in touch with the children she fought for as they grew up.
Once Josie decided you were friends, you didn’t have a choice. She wouldn’t let you go. And you always knew where things stood – she called it as she saw it and with a truth others might be afraid to use.
Josie is preceded in death by her paternal grandparents and maternal grandmother. She is survived by her husband Putnam Ervin Reiter of 13 years; daughter Allison (Destiny) Cheryl Dearman of Bandera, Texas; sons Andrew Stanley Reiter and Alexander Putnam Reiter; granddaughter Riley McKenzie Stanley and grandson Parker Lane Stanley; sisters Jennifer (David) Joy Dillard of Killeen, Texas and Jamie Lynn Stanley of Owasso, Oklahoma; brother Cortney (Sarah) Leon Stanley of Bastrop, Texas; parents Delbert and Cheryl Stanley of Pipe Creek, Texas; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
A celebration of life to honor Josie will be held on February 16, 2019, from 1-4 p.m. at Southern Hills Baptist Church located at 8601 S. Pennsylvania in Oklahoma City. Donations are preferred in lieu of flowers.