Maria Raia Friscia passed away peacefully on Sunday 22 November surrounded by her loving children.
Maria was born in Caltabellotta, Sicily, Italy on 28 July 1926. She emigrated to New York in 1965 with her husband Michele who predeceased her in 2008. Maria settled near Arthur Avenue in The Bronx, NY which she called home for decades.
A gifted seamstress, she worked as a dressmaker for many years, though her talents extended to knitting, crocheting, embroidering, cooking, and drawing flowers.
Surrounded by a community of Italian immigrants, Italian remained her primary language and she proudly celebrated her heritage and culture. Though she did not speak English, her timely laughs and poignant comments during dinner conversations made her grandchildren smile. In her later years, she spent long stretches of time in Riverside to be close to her daughter and grandchildren.
She taught her children and grandchildren her most coveted cooking and baking secrets and was an infinite source of wisdom for all. Throughout her life, she created and gifted many handmade heirlooms such as bedspreads, wool blankets, sweaters, and table linens. Most importantly, however, she left her family with precious memories of her kind and loving spirit.
Maria is survived by her son Ignazio and his longtime partner Ann Clifford of The Bronx, and her daughter Maria Carmela and her husband Dr. John Dubaz of Riverside.
Maria was blessed with and treasured by her three grandchildren: Dr. Ornella Dubaz and her husband Dr. Jeffrey Lemons of Boston, MA; Marcello Dubaz and his fiancé Marina Austin of Los Angeles, CA; and Sofia Dubaz and her fiancé Jeffrey Silva, Jr. of Greenwich, CT. Maria’s last few months were filled with joy seeing and holding her great-grandson Luca Lemons who was born this past June.
Condolences may be left at coxandgraziano.com who is handling funeral arrangements.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to American Cancer Society.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in The Bronx on Saturday 27 November at 9:45am. Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Greenwich.