Crochet 04

Susie Chidoni

January 10, 2022

Obituary

 

Susie Chidoni entered into eternal rest on January 10, 2022 at home in Red Bank, NJ.   She was surrounded by her family and her caregivers.  Susie was 97 years old and lived a full and active life until the last year.  

Susie was born in Long Branch, NJ and lived there most of her life.  She was predeceased by her husband of 40 years Anthony (Chick), her parents Rocco and Theresa LoPrete, a brother Anthony LoPrete, sister Catherine Cosentino and a son Rocco Chidoni.  She is survived by a son Anthony Chidoni and his wife Joan of Los Angeles, a daughter Angela Bouton and husband Scott from Middletown, five grandchildren, Loren Naylor and husband Brian from NY, Michelle Gray and husband Jonathan of Manhattan Beach, CA, Erin Bouton and Nicholas Bouton from Middletown and Lyra Carr and husband Landry from Halifax, Canada.  Susie was also blessed with six great grandchildren, Noa and Wesley Naylor, Addison and Asher Gray and Logan and Lucas Carr. 

Susie attended Long Branch High School and briefly studied at Monmouth College. Susie was also a lifelong member of Holy Trinity Church in Long Branch.  She worked as a young woman as an executive assistant at Monmouth Medical center in its early days, but her pride was in the raising of her family to which she dedicated her life.  Susie’s interests were many but she loved sports and competition.  Susie actively both golfed and bowled well into her nineties.   Her love of cooking and family brought everyone together. Holiday dinners at her home were both festive and legendary as board game competition was intense.   Never one to shy away from a game or a competition, family members jockeyed to be on her team.  

Susie was always willing to lend a helping hand without hesitation to both friends and family from babysitting to cooking, cleaning, or driving those that she cared for to and from their destination.   Being an early riser she often talked about walking on the boardwalk with her dear friend Rose Notaro at 6:00am.   Additionally, Susie’s love of crocheting and her desire to give from the heart allowed her to create blankets for everyone in the family, especially when there was a newborn.  These authentic treasures will be forever in our lives and hearts.

In her later years the golf season always found her glued to the TV during Tournaments as she loved the sport and often talked about the beauty and effortless athleticism of the participants.  She always read the paper from front to back and enjoyed discussing current events with those around her.

A private funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, January 19 at 10:30 am for immediate family only as concerns with respect to the Coronavirus have altered our plans. The Mass will be live streamed from the funeral home’s web site. When the weather warms, there will be a celebration of life at which time we can celebrate the love of family and friends that Susie so dearly cherished. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Alzheimer's New Jersey, 425 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite 203, Roseland NJ 07068 or www.alznj.org . The family invites you to leave a letter of condolence through the Tribute/Guestbook link above.

Eulogy written by Angela

As I reflect on my mother’s life and recall the stories she told, there are a few themes that come to mind about her, her life, and the interaction with her family and friends that I think would be pertinent to share.

Susie, being born on September 2, 1924 grew up as the middle child to the parents of immigrants from Calabria, Italy.  For anyone knowing, Susie, you knew that she was incredibly proud of her heritage and the traditions that came with being Italian.   As my Mom would say, “Being Italian-- is there any else?”…

As a young girl, being the middle child, Susie was tasked with cleaning the house, preparing dinners, and at the end of the summer preparing all the canned foods from the garden in preparation for Winter   Essentially, she ran the house from the age of approximately 14 while her parents and elder sister worked.   She had a younger brother, but in those days in an Italian boy certainly didn’t do housework.

In high school my mother was ahead of her time where she embodied Title IX before it was a thought.   She was captain of the Field Hockey team.   Perhaps this is where she gained her strength.   As her caregivers can attest, she was incredibly strong until the very end.  I believe that our athleticism and strength came from our mother.  While fiercely competitive, she had a very caring side to her.  Susie was always willing to help someone and would usually put her own feelings aside.   Upon graduation from high school, Susie wanted to become a nurse and care for others, but in those times her father did not want her working in a hospital.   So, she applied to be a telephone operator but was told that her arms were too short to make the line connections.   My mother later did end up working in the hospital.  While not in nursing, she worked in the office which apparently was ok with her father.   She worked at Monmouth Medical in the very early days and was an executive assistant to Mr. Borden. 

She met my father, Anthony (Chick) Chidoni at a dance in Asbury Park.  They married in 1946 and created a loving, albeit often feisty and strong-willed family.   Being a mother is where my mother really began to shine.   For the majority of her marriage, she was a homemaker where she did all the things that she did when she was 14 years old.   She ran the house.   There was always a good meal on the table, homemade cakes or cookies for whomever would stop in and visit and always enough food for all to enjoy.  I recall often bringing friends home for dinner knowing that there would always be enough food.    My parents worked hard and long hours and had the Italian market on Overton Place.   I would hear the stories of the them working opposite shifts so that one parent could mind the store while the other parent took care of the kids. 

Being Italian it is no surprise that my mother’s true love came with cooking, especially when it was for a holiday.   These were not the days of potluck or catering the meal.   Generally, my mother did all the cooking from appetizers to desserts.  She would begin preparing well in advance in making the homemade pasta.   She prided herself in the foods she made.   They weren’t necessarily fancy recipes, but they always had the one special ingredient of LOVE.   She cooked from her heart and would remember what everyone liked and tried to make that special dish.   It was the days of having appetizers with drinks, an entire first course of homemade pasta, meatballs, sausage and braciola and then having the second course of meat with all the side dishes—Turkey for Thanksgiving, and generally ham for Christmas and Easter.   When Anthony and Angela were in California, we would gather before Thanksgiving and cook with Joan.   Joan was responsible for a beautiful presentation of soup in cut out pumpkins while Mom made the stuffing and together making a myriad of other sides and desserts.  Cooking side by side became a tradition that we will always cherish.  

At Christmas we would always make cookies together, but not just a few.  Multiple generations made them.   First with Loren and Michelle and then later with Erin and Nicholas.  Generally, there were at least 15 different types of cookies, each better than the next.   Some recipes varied each year, but she always had to make Pizzellas, Butter horns, and Taralles.   She would give a tray of cookies to whoever stopped over or take a tray whenever invited to someone’s house.  Somehow, they all disappeared.

In reaching out to family members over the last few days, everyone had a story.   Each member however had a constant story of the famous Pictionary games and competitiveness of the Chidoni/Tomaino/Del Vecchio families.   We couldn’t wait for dinner to finish so that we could begin the game.  Teams would be created with every member of the family playing regardless of age.   We laughed, yelled, and petitioned for the winner of each round.  Everyone positioned for the bragging rights which would carry through to the next holiday meal.  You would have thought it was the Olympics of Pictionary.  As new family members arrived, they were indoctrinated into this crazy competitive, fun loving time.   This transpired for approximately 8-10 years.   As you know within the family there was much ribbing and competitiveness.   At the end, we all loved it and looked forward to the next time we would be gathered together.   I recall my mother looking around after everyone had left and we were cleaning up and stating…” Wasn’t that a nice time?  Everyone really enjoyed it!”  This is what Susie was all about.   It was about family, food, and the blending of the two.   She cooked from her heart with LOVE and did things the hard way, but this is what she knew.  

As Susie aged and finally became her own person in her 70’s, she developed a nice group of friends.  She moved from Long Branch where she resided her entire life to Shadow Lake Village.   While only 20 minutes away, it seemed much father.  At Shadow Lake she golfed, bowled, played cards, bocce ball, and Maj Jong.   Her competitiveness remained strong even as she aged and was often noted in the Shadow Lake newspaper for her accomplishments.  She also loved to crochet which came from the heart.   Always wanting to make a new blanket, a special quilt, and her favorite of all—the baby blankets.   These authentic crocheted treasures are masterpieces enjoyed and cherished forever by each of us. 

Susie had 95 fantastic years where she enjoyed excellent health and the love of family and friends.   Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s and Dementia didn’t allow her to be at peace most recently.   But…being an optimist, I believe that from something bad comes good.   The positive is that my brother and I established an exceptionally strong bond.   This bond, bore out of anguish, grief, and despair allowed us to accept the situation and often laugh at Mom’s need to feel in control.   It also allowed us to “adopt” our wonderful caregiver Nina and other caregivers.   Anthony and I would often say…” Thank God for Nina.”  The time in our lives also allowed me to see that there are so many very caring people willing to assist Mom in whatever way possible even when she was being impossible.  Regardless of the world in which we live where you often only see and hear about negativity on the news, I know that in my heart there are many good people in the world willing to assist an old woman in her golden years and treat her with the respect and love that she gave to others her entire life.  This is what she deserved. 

So..dear Mom…thank you for your love and support and for the memories and traditions that we will always treasure and cherish in our hearts forever.   May you rest in peace and give to Dad a big hug and kiss for me. 

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Services

All services are private

Damiano Funeral Home
191 Franklin Ave
LONG BRANCH, NJ 07740

Donations

Alzheimer's New Jersey
425 Eagle Rock Avenue, Suite 203, Roseland NJ 07068
Web: http://www.alznj.org

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