Catherine Giorno, known to all as “Rina”, was called to join her beloved husband, Tony (“Tonino”), on May 26, 2020.
We will never forget our dear mother and not because she was “our mother”, but because she embodied a vitality and unbridled spirit that simply is unforgettable. To honor her life and memory in a few paragraphs is difficult. After all, how does one decide which details best describe our mother’s essence. But in venturing to do so, the word that tops the list is determined.
Our mother had a firmness of purpose and the resolve to achieve a goal, no matter the obstacles. She was a fighter — unafraid to take on hardships and challenges with grit and the bravery of a bull fighter. She lived the words as declared by Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Our mother was of a generation that didn’t waste anything, not even an old pair of pantyhose. Everything and anything had multiple uses. Nothing was discarded. Therefore, it was not uncommon to find items thought to have been thrown away resurrected from the trash and put to other uses.
Our mother was born in Francavilla Angitola, Italy, on August 23, 1939. She met the love of her life, Anthony Giorno, after she moved to the United States while walking down Main Street in New Rochelle. After only a few dates, she knew she had met her soulmate and that they would care for each other until death parted them, which is exactly what happened. On November 24, 1960, they married, had three children and never left each other’s side, their commitment and devotion to one another was unwavering. When our beloved father passed away a few years ago, a part of our mother died too. Tony was her lifeline and living without him was agony. But being a fighter, she endured and carried on like a warrior.
As a creative person, she adored sewing because it allowed her to create what she imagined. In fact, she worked as a seamstress before she became a full-time mother and homemaker. Nowhere was her passion for sewing more on display than in the beautiful clothes she designed for her family including my first holy communion dress and prom dress, as well as my first pair of blue jeans! Cooking was her other creative outlet. As a self-taught cook, she whipped up unbelievably delicious meals from scratch for family and friends. Her lasagna and homemade pasta sauce were legendary. How I will miss the lemon cream puffs she made from scratch for my birthday each year because I loved them.
While this notification can hardly do justice to our mother’s life story, it provides a snap shot of how very special she was to us. If there is one thing her journey has taught us, it is to always hope for the best in life, but to be prepared for the curve balls, because they will come. While the pain in our hearts is searing, we are grateful to have had her in our lives for as long as we did and to have received her gifts. We will miss our dear mother very much, but she will live on in our hearts forever.
Catherine Giorno is survived by her three children, Robert Giorno, Marisa Keating and Sandra Giorno-Tocco and seven grandchildren, Robert, Marisa, Zachery, Michael, Olivia, Daniella, Luke, and great granddaughter.