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Official Obituary of

Mildred Manto

August 9, 1930 ~ February 20, 2024 (age 93) 93 Years Old

Mildred Manto Obituary

On Tuesday, February 20, 2024, Mildred Manto (affectionately known as Millie or Honey) of Kenilworth, NJ passed away peacefully at the age of 93.  She was the beloved matriarch of our family.  Left to carry on her remarkable legacy are her daughters Joanne Gocel (Stanley) and Cynthia Manto, her son  Joshua Manto, her grandchildren Daniel Gocel (Casey), Michael Gocel (Natalie), Jeffrey Gocel (Margot), Godson Jeff Lavan, the lights of her life, her six great-grandchildren, Frankie, Denali, Perry, Lucy, Sylvie, Magnolia, and (unbeknownst to Perry) her dear rescue dog Porthos.  She also leaves behind her beloved brothers and sisters Genevieve Poisseroux, John Russomano (Lucille), Patricia Krebs, Ralph Russomano and Thomas Russomano (Patricia).  

Millie was born in Newark, NJ on August 9, 1930 to Albert and Mildred Russomano.  As the fourth of ten children, Millie took on a motherly persona at a very young age helping to raise her younger siblings.  She honed her culinary expertise assisting her mother in the kitchen, preparing elaborate meals for the large extended Italian family who would come over every Sunday. 

As an active member of Saint Francis Church she sang in the choir, participated in Junior Sodality and starred in their production of Annie Get Your Gun.  As a teenager she worked alongside her dear Aunt Rose in her restaurant and bakery on the boardwalk, down the shore.  It was there she learned how to create restaurant quality meals for a crowd and continued to dazzle in the kitchen well into her 90s.  

In her teens, Millie (along with most of the family) was employed at Kearfott where fate led her to her soulmate Perry and she instantly fell in love with his beautiful smile.  Soon after, they eloped on May 25, 1950 and remained happily married for 70 years.  Truly an admirable couple, they were always together, supporting each other in all endeavors.  This included traveling around the state for the best ingredients for Millie’s gourmet meals, epic holiday feasts and Wednesday night dinners with her adult grandchildren.  Above all, what she did in the kitchen was not only delicious, but always perfection.  A maestro of manicotti, queen of the crumb cake, colossus of Christmas cookies…whatever she made was equally precise and visually stunning. 

Way before Martha Stewart and The Food Network were popular, Millie was a true pioneer of home and hospitality.  She was a cosmetologist, accomplished seamstress and tailor, “surgeon”, curtain maker, costume designer (complete with wigs), Adirondack chairmaker, and bespoke craftswoman.  Never selfish, she used her considerable culinary talents to bake and donate countless cakes to support many special causes.  Her blueberry-peach, crumb and chocolate cakes where often requested and savored by all.  

Millie was the quintessential nurturer.  Everyone wanted to spend their sick days on Gram’s couch; drinking tea, watching “Days of our Lives” and being spoiled rotten.  But it wasn’t just sick days, Gram’s door was always open to her beloved grandsons, who she cherished and adored as if they were her own.  Let’s be honest, anyone who knew Gram knew she ruled with an iron fist and Daniel Green slippers.  

Until her last day, Mille was always known for her impeccable appearance.  Manicured nails and perfect coiffed hair (colored by Perry); you would never find her out of the house without a little lipstick and matching accessories. 

As hard as it is for her family to say goodbye, we take comfort knowing she is being reunited with her favorite people.  Her cherished husband Perry and infant son Richard, her parents, brothers Louie, Albert, Patrick, her sister Loretta and dear Manto and Russomano in-laws.  She is survived by her adoring children, loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren, countless admiring nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors and all those who knew her as “Gram”. 

Millie’s beautiful life will be celebrated on Friday 2/23, at Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home 582 Springfield Ave, Westfield NJ from 4-8pm.  Followed by Mass on Saturday 2/24 at St. James the Apostle Church in Springfield NJ at 10am. 

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, The American Heart Association or Joyrides Rescue

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Services

Visitation
Friday
February 23, 2024

4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home
582 Springfield Ave.
Westfield, NJ 07090

Mass of Christian Burial
Saturday
February 24, 2024

10:00 AM
St. James the Apostle RC Church
45 S Springfield Ave
Springfield, NJ 07081

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