Mary Saggio (née Scaffidi), age 95, passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, January 12, 2020. She was born in Baltimore, MD on July 8, 1924. In 1929, her Sicilian parents returned the family to Piraino, Sicily where Mary was raised. She married Carmelo in 1949. Mary and Carmelo wanted to give their family a better life and move to America. Only Mary had American status, so she had to leave her husband and two children, Josephine (age 2) and Rosa (age 1), and travel alone to the United States. She arrived in New Jersey in November, 1952. Dina was born the following month. Carmelo arrived with the girls in June, 1953 and Lina was born in 1954. They moved to Milwaukee in 1956. Twin sons, David and Salvatore, were born prematurely in 1960. Both boys were barely two pounds each; Salvatore did not survive.
In addition to raising 5 children (4 girls all within one year of each other), Mary was also a factory worker at Weyenberg Shoes and A.F. Gallun & Sons tannery in Milwaukee. Mary and Carmelo retired to Arizona in 1985 and in November 2019 they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Mary will always be remembered for her kindness and caring to everyone. She worked hard all her life and sacrificed so that she could be the best wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, relative and friend anyone could ever have or hope to have. Rarely did she complain and there was always a smile on her face. No matter what pain she may have been feeling, her usual response was, “I’m OK.” Her soft spoken demeanor was not to be taken for granted because her strength throughout her life and in all she endured was unparalleled.
Mary is survived and missed by her loving husband and longtime carepartner Carmelo, and their five children, Josephine (Antonino) Cusma-Piccione of Gioiosa Marea, Sicily; Rosa (Danny) Stong of Racine, WI; Dina (James) Girdaukas of Sheboygan, WI; Lina (Santino) Cicero of Milwaukee, WI; David (Eva) Saggio of Seattle, WA. Some of her greatest joys were her eight grandchildren: Michael (Andra) Cicero of Milwaukee, WI; Marcello (Belma) Cusma of Mount Juliet, TN; Steven (Kayley) Cicero of Milwaukee, WI; Ed Girdaukas of Sheboygan, WI; Nick Stong of Macomb,MI; Maria (Kelvin) Maldonado of Brookfield, WI; Matthew Stong of Milwaukee, WI; Isabella Saggio of Seattle, WA. Mary was an adored bisnonna to Gabriella and Tino and a new great-grandmother to Ema and Andy.
She is further survived by her brother, Cono (Josephine) Scaffidi of Mesa, AZ; sisters Catherine Magovero of Baltimore, MD; Rose Spinella of Glassboro, NJ and Sara Seraino of Gioiosa Marea, Sicily and many other relatives including sister-in-laws, brother-in-law, nieces and nephews, their spouses and children.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Cono Scaffidi and Rosa Spinella, her newborn son, Salvatore, sister Giuseppina Fava and brothers Joseph Scaffidi and Leonard Scaffidi.
Visitation on Monday, January 20, 2020 at Messinger Indian School Mortuary, 7601 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, AZ from 5-7 pm. Rosary Service will follow.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at All Saints Catholic Church, 1534 N. Recker Rd., Mesa, AZ at 10:00 a.m. Entombment will follow at Paradise Memorial Gardens, 9300 East Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ.
The family would like to thank Jennifer Acosta for the personal care given to Mary over the past year. Much gratitude to the nurses and staff at Companion Hospice & Palliative Care in Mesa, AZ for their compassionate medical care the past few months.
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