It is with profound sadness that we share the passing of our Mother, Sylvia T. Lucarelli (nee Kalogerakos). She passed comfortably in the care of Hospice in Morristown Memorial Hospital on Thursday July 30, 2020. She was 85 years old. The loss of our loving Mom, Grandma, Sister, Aunt and Friend to anyone who entered our home, has left a void in all of us.
Sylvia was born in Queens Village NY on March 1, 1935 to her incredibly loving parents of Greek decent, George and Vasiliki. It was from the two of them, her father in the restaurant business and her mother a dress maker that Sylvia’s work ethic was derived. A trait she would later pass along to her two daughters. Growing up in a traditional Greek family our Mother would recount stories of life in her childhood household. Memories of taking the bus with her mother going to the chicken market… preparing Sunday dinner for her Papa (the one day he had off from work)… making sure her younger brother Straty had clean pressed clothes and a sandwich to eat… making pitas with her mom.. spending time at her Nouno’s (Godfather) home, attending many years of Greek school and dressing up for the Greek dances. When her father passed away suddenly, she was 11 years old and had to assume much of the household responsibility. Her foundation in life was based on family and born from love and respect.
Sylvia graduated Central High School when she was 16 years old. That was just about the time she started working in the bakery department at Universal Food Market in Newark. It was also there that she met the man she would later marry. Lou was a handsome, tall shy guy who would sheepishly leave a soda for Sylvia on her work counter when she wasn’t looking. Eventually he found the courage to ask this beautiful model/keeper of the cup cakes out on a date. Marriage would come later in their lives. Sylvia then worked as a secretary at Prudential contributing to her family household.
Sylvia and Lou were married on May 16, 1959. They had two daughters Lisa and Christina. She imparted her heritage and family values into our lives every day. She adored her family more than anything in the world. We were her greatest loves. Early in married life they lived in Westwood and then Maywood and returned to Newark for 40 more years of their life together. While being a full time mom, Sylvia also had a full time job in City Hall as a legal secretary.
Our parents traveled all over the world and always returned with great stories from their adventures. From Africa to Spain to Italy to Greece and so many more fascinating destinations… Dad always said “Travel when you’re young!” Their social life consisted mostly of family gatherings on weekends. And that was just fine for mom as she was centered within her family.
When the blessings of grandchildren came from her daughter Lisa, Nicholas and Alexandra, there was a whole new outlook for both Sylvia and Lou. They both quit smoking cold turkey and had a new reason for living longer, healthier lives. NOTHING made them happier than having Nicholas and Alexandra in their lives. It was a rebirth for our family. It was new love and new moments to behold. It was more family to love and adore and cherish. Her grandchildren sparked her life in ways that only a grandparent could understand.
After Lou passed away in 2013, I said to my mom, “Mom ,we can live anywhere in the world you’d like to”. And her response was, “I want to live within 15 minutes of my grandchildren so they will come and visit me”. And that is how we ended up in Hanover. The last seven years of Mom’s life were mostly happy times for her. She was able to share many good times with her cousin Angie. She loved being able to walk around our neighborhood and say hello to the neighbors. Dining out was always a joy for her. Visiting her brother Straty and his family in Cape May was a beloved treat. And then little by little that disgraceful disease of Alzheimers and Dementia imparted its way into her life. We fought off this beast daily. Life became less about travel and more about her knowing that her family was safe and secure. She took great comfort in recalling memories of her family.. her children and her grandchildren… In the early evening …of everyday.. She would ask me, “Is everybody home? Are the children home? Did they eat?” And everyday I would answer her with, “Yes , The family has eaten and everyone is safe at home”. Her life really was all about caring and loving others.
Sylvia leaves behind daughters Lisa Vizzone and Christina Lucarelli. Her two loving grandchildren Nicholas and Alexandra Vizzone. Her brother Steve Kalos and his wife Ethel and their two daughters Vikki and Nina.
Sylvia’s memory will be cherished and will remain in the hearts of those she touched.
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