Maria Santangelo
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Obituary of Maria Santangelo

Maria Ferlaino Santangelo passed away on October 8, 2020 at her home in Fort Lee, New Jersey, at the age of 88. Maria, also known as Marietta by those close to her, lived a full and beautiful life, filled with countless precious memories, numerous treasured friendships, and a large, loving, close-knit family. She was born on April 4, 1932 to Antonia and Nicola Ferlaino in their home in the village of Nocera Terinese, a small town in the Southern Italian region of Calabria. She was the youngest of four children. Maria was raised in Nocera, an ancient village built on mountainous lands located on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea, and spent her days working outdoors, on farmlands and the mountains on the outskirts of the village, to help support her family. She developed a deep love for nature, specifically the ocean and marina, and thoroughly treasured her days at the beach with her friends and family. As a child, she witnessed the atrocities of the Second World War and endured the unimaginable hardship it brought to her home and her family, including the loss of her eldest brother. Despite all the difficultly she faced at such a young age, the brilliant light of her spirit was never extinguished, and she persevered. She decided that she would not only settle to survive, but to live her life to the fullest. With this attitude, she grew up to be a bold, vivacious, enthusiastic, and an eternally joyous young woman; she was known to be the life of the party by all who knew her. Throughout her life, Maria attributed her strength of spirit and resilience to her ever present faith in God and placed her hope and faith in His grace. She frequented the Church of Saint John the Baptist (la Chiesa di San Giovanni Battista) in her hometown. At the age of nineteen, she married twenty-year-old Federico Salvatore Santangelo in a small ceremony in October of 1951. Following their wedding, Maria boarded a ship and made the long journey across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States where she and her husband planned to begin their lives anew and raise their family with the freedom and opportunity that they never had. In the years following, Maria and her husband had three children, Cesare, Dino, and Teresa, to whom they selflessly devoted their lives and work to. As a mother and grandmother, Maria was extraordinarily warm and caring, and was constantly involved with her children, and later, her grandchildren. She was sure to impart her wisdom, her experiences, her stories, her recipes, her encouragement, and her faith to her children and grandchildren; she was a storyteller and teacher like no other. Maria is survived by her husband of 69 years, Federico; her children and their spouses: Teresa Santangelo-Esoldi and her husband Gary, Dino Santangelo and his wife Paula, and Cesare Santangelo and his wife Sara; her seven grandchildren: Catherine, Paul, Andrew, Stephen, John-Paul, Juliana, and Diana; as well as her neighbors and cherished friends: Dimitra Peppas, and Philip Salerno. Maria will always be remembered for her kind and gentle heart, her effervescent personality, her illuminating smile and contagious laugh, her silent yet bold strength, and her effortless ability to make a friend out of anyone she met simply by being kind and opening her door to those in need. She will live on in their hearts and memories forever. The family will receive their friends on Monday 4-8 pm at the Frank A. Patti and Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home 327 Main Street “opposite the Fort Lee Library”. The funeral will leave Tuesday at 10:15 AM for the celebration of her funeral mass in Madonna R.C. Church at 11:00 AM. For condolences, directions, or information call (201) 944-0100 or www.frankpatti.com