Evelyn Rita Iannuzzi Moliterno – October 5, 1932-November 26, 2021
Our mother was beautiful – stunning actually, but that doesn’t or shouldn’t necessarily define her because she was so much more than that. She was also elegant, and intelligent, and refined; she was a great hostess, an unlicensed, but extremely talented interior designer, a fairly successful real estate agent, a school volunteer gym teacher and event organizer, a crazy-arm tennis player, a smooth dancer with unstoppable legs and yes, even a gourmet cook. She was always the cool mom!
Born in New Rochelle to Mary Palermo and Emil Iannuzzi, “Evie”as she was called by her friends (and later by all of us in jest), very much followed in her parent’s footsteps: her mother was also a beauty and a fantastic cook, mastering delicacies from every ethnicity that most immigrant Italians had never even heard of; her father, a native New Rochellean, was an entrepreneur and very successful businessman who owned R.E.C. Corporation on Cedar St. where Toyota Crabtree now stands. Mom was the second born: her sister Jean and brother Freddie have both predeceased her and her younger brother Bobby currently lives in Italy with his wife, Maria. She attended New Rochelle High School where she walked to school with her skates in the winter because in those days, you could skate on the lakes, graduated from Dean Junior College in Franklin, Mass and married our beloved father, Carmine (Mel) Moliterno at 21 years of age on January 24, 1954. They had a marriage for the ages: they had three great kids (if we do say so ourselves): Valerie, Melinda (Mindy) and Stephen. They weren’t rich, they didn’t go on vacations or drive fancy cars but they sure did have a fun life together. There was always singing, dancing, especially the Ev and Mel lindy duo, entertaining, celebrating and non stop eating! Sure, there was teasing and fighting (everyone was very loud) and we were usually never allowed to do what other kids could do because mom was tough but dad always stuck by her decisions because, as he said, she loved us so much she didn’t want anything bad to happen to us. And it never really did.
We got older, we married and had children, some of us grandchildren. Valerie married Tony Vanadia; they had 2 daughters, Jessica, who married Kyle McEvily and Noelle, who married Rick Spidalieri; Jessica and Kyle have Ryan, 11, and Alexandra, 8; Noelle and Rick have Graham, 6 years, and Carter, 4. Mindy married Steve Chanelli and they have 3 children: Daniel, Gregory and Candace. Stephen and Michele have 2 kids: Alyssa and Robert. For Ev, that made 7 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren and every single one of them was very accustomed to having Grammy in their lives. We weren’t the type of family who moved away and forgot our roots – they were instilled in us by those two great people and will always be there and, happy to say, continues to live in the next generations.
Somewhere in between the grandkids, our parents moved out of New Rochelle and into Connecticut but with all the grandkids, there was always a reason to come south back to NY. Our dad lived long enough to meet Ryan but unfortunately passed away in 2012 right before Alexandra was born, though we think their paths crossed going up and coming down from heaven. They were married for 60 years. Mom took dad’s death hard, her health was failing but she continued to dole out tough love…on herself, refusing to move back down to New Rochelle or, heaven forbid, in with one of her kids. For almost 9 years since his death, she soldiered on – she cooked for herself, shopped for herself, (though neither made her happy), watched old movies, allowed herself an occasional martini on holidays, for old times sake, continued to demand that we uphold holiday traditions like baccala gravy on Christmas Eve, still dressed up with her rhinestones, aurora borealis beads and bangles for every family celebration and smoked her cigarettes up to the bitter end. Barring the latter, we all wanted to be just like her. We were blessed to have had her in our lives for her 89 years, we will always remember the smell of her perfume, her coral lipstick and Keds sneakers. We won’t be able to drive by a Kentucky Fried Chicken or eat an Entenman’s donut, French onion soup and clams on the half shell without missing her. It will be an odd and sad Christmas for us this year but we are comforted to know that she is finally exactly where she wanted to be with our dad and they are both now watching over us. Evelyn passed very peacefully in her sleep, as she prayed she would, on November 26, 2021.
Visiting hours will be Tuesday 4-8pm at The George T. Davis Funeral Home, 16 Shea Place, New Rochelle, NY. A funeral Mass is scheduled for Wednesday 10:30am at Holy Family Church. Interment will follow at Beechwoods Cemetery.