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Rose Mae O’Connor (née L’Italien), aged 93, passed away peacefully on September 25, 2022. Rose was born in Hartford, CT, the daughter of French-Canadian immigrants, and grew up in the Bronx, NY. She met Bob O’Connor when they were teenagers and the two were married in 1949 – she was 20, and he, a ‘cradle-robbed’ 19. Early in their marriage she worked at a luncheonette, and at a toy factory, saving with her husband to buy their dream home in the suburbs. The young couple moved to Bergenfield, NJ in 1962 to raise a family (William, Bobby and Cindy) as well as care for Rose’s younger brother Eddie. She was a gentle and nurturing mother, who ran the house almost single handedly while Bob worked night shifts and overtime to support the young family. She truly had the patience of a Saint. Her children were the center of her universe, and there was nothing better than everyone being cuddled up together under a hand-crocheted blanket to watch I Love Lucy, old Abbott and Costello movies, and the annual showing of The Wizard of Oz. She was an adventurous cook, an aspiring painter, could sew clothing from scratch, and was a talented gardener whose annual tomato crop was a celebrated highlight of Summer – along with her famous coleslaw, a staple at every neighbor’s barbecue. Rose cherished the ‘coffee klatches’ with neighborhood girlfriends, and her kitchen always had a piece of cake or pie ready to be offered. She had a wonderful smile and could be counted on to laugh at Bob’s endless jokes – again, the patience of a Saint. She traveled widely with Bob, first with their young family on camping trips up and down the East Coast, and then internationally when the kids were older. Rose and Bob saw the world including Europe, China, the Middle East and Australia. While she loved their adventures, it was the magic of home that brought her the most joy. Christmas was always a highlight of the year for Rose – she filled every inch of the house with decorations, sent out piles of Christmas cards and made a feast on Christmas Day, doing most of the cooking herself. She always bought an extra present or three in case a relative or friend showed up unexpectedly, and sent cakes and cookies throughout the neighborhood. She is survived by her children William (Melinda Murat-Blevins), Robert (Richard Lerner), and Cindy; grand-daughter, Eden Rose Katchen; brother, Edward L’Italien (Elizabeth); nephew, Daniel O’Connor (Karin); and grand-nephews, Andrew and Christopher. A memorial service to celebrate Rose Mae’s life will be held from 1pm-3pm on Friday, September 30, 2022, at Riewerts Memorial Home, 187 S Washington Ave., Bergenfield, NJ, with a Memorial Mass to take place at 10am on Saturday, October 1, 2022, at Church of the Ascension in New Milford, NJ. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund or St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Friday, September 30, 2022
1:00 - 3:00pm (Eastern time)
Riewerts Memorial Home
Saturday, October 1, 2022
Starts at 10:00am (Eastern time)
Church of the Ascension
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