Marian DelGaizo, 74, beloved educator and family matriarch
Back in the Fifties, Marian (Tirico) DelGaizo was growing up in Newark's old North Ward, going to the neighborhood's St. Lucy's R.C. Church and graduating 9th in her class at Barringer High School.
Next, she went on to major in statistics at Rutgers University, where she was so adept at her subject, she landed a coveted teaching assistant slot in the scientific discipline, till then something that was, as one family put it, "a man's thing."
"She always sort of kidded about it," said her daughter, Donna Bizub.
Before long, her passion for helping others spilled over into the life of her soon-to-be husband, a young man named Anthony DelGaizo, who during his pre-med studies at Seton Hall University had to dictate the hard-to-decipher notes from his anatomy class to Marian as she punched out the letters on a manual typewriter.
Marian DelGaizo - an educator whose keen intellect led to a life of teaching others, most recently as an instructor of special needs pupils in the Parsippany public schools - died Thursday at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 74.
"To this day, former students send her letters to thank her for all her help," said Anthony DelGaizo, whose nearly 50-year marriage to Marian began with her walk down the aisle at Newark's St Francis Xavier R.C. Church on July 7, 1962.
Hers was a life immersed in church and family.
For one, she was a faithful member of "The St. Gerard Girls," whose half-dozen members take their name from the patron saint of motherhood. It was a tie to her birthplace - Newark - and her childhood time at St. Lucy's, home to the National Shrine of St. Gerard. She was also a daily communicant at Notre Dame R.C. Church in North Caldwell.
To her family, she was humble but strong willed; unpretentious but sophisticated; and meek but courageous.
To her three children -- Anthony, Donna, and Vincent - some of the most memorable times were the regular treks from their North Caldwell home to the family's summer place in Point Pleasant Beach. It was known as "the red-roof inn" both for the color of its roofing shingles and the hearty dishes she served up to an extended family.
There, the ocean views didn't seem to match Marian's attention to the rite of dining: artichokes, stuffed mushrooms, the "red gravy" of their Italian heritage, and a veal dish whose recipe is now believed lost forever.
"Sit-down dinners. ... We never went out to dinner down the shore - ever," Donna Bizub said.
As the years went by, Marian's family grew, with nine grandchildren, as well as a beloved niece and nephew. Even the in-laws were fully embraced. "She never wanted to be a 'mother-in-law,' never wanted that boundary," Donna Bizub said.
"The grandchildren were the jewels of her life," Anthony DelGaizo said of the family's newest generation. "She essentially had her own little school at various points in their lives. She followed their achievements with a passion, whether it was in the classroom, soccer field, baseball diamond or hockey rink.
Besides her husband, Marian is survived by a son, Anthony DelGaizo, his wife, Sharon, and their children, Anthony, Marc, and Nicholas; a daughter, Donna Bizub, her husband, Tim, and their children, Joseph, Jack, and Caroline; another son, Vincent DelGaizo, his wife, Kelly, and their children, Sofia, Christopher, and Thomas; a sister, Anne Facciponte; and a niece, Marisa Tusche, her husband, Marlon, and their children, Luca and Lena.
She was a true matriarch who fostered the importance of the family unit and propagated family traditions.
Visitation is from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Bizub-Quinlan Funeral Home, 1313 Van Houten Ave., Clifton, followed by a 10 a.m. Wednesday funeral service at Notre Dame R.C. Church, 359 Central Ave., North Caldwell. Please meet at church. Burial will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover.
Memorial contributions may be made to Friends of CARRA, a childhood arthritis and rheumatology research alliance, at P. O. Box 20067, Stanford, CA 94309 or to Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation, One Clara Maass Drive, Belleville, NJ 07109. Please visit www.bizub.com for driving directions or online condolences.
--Prepared by Life Stories NJ LLC, at lifestoriesnj.com.
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Friends of CARRA
P.O. Box 20067, Stanford CA 94309
Clara Maass Medical Center
One Clara Maass Drive, Belleville NJ 07109