Anna Maria Zacchia-Tummiolo, 91, on January 9, 2022. Anna was born on Christmas Day, 1930 in Pescara, Italy. Her earliest childhood memories were playing on the beach and swimming in the Adriatic Sea with her 4 sisters and her brother until war came to Italy and the World. Anna, her siblings and her parents, Elisa and Luigi, survived multiple Allied and German air raids, artillery fire and Nazi soldiers looting their home. In 1943 Anna was a 13-year-old girl when the Nazis forced her family and others on a train to an unknown destination in the direction of Germany. When the train stopped in Florence, they made a daring escape and ran for their lives. Anna and her younger sister were separated from their family and spent the last years of World War II in Florence, cared for by a family who took them in. When the war was over, Anna and her younger sister reunited with their parents and other siblings, only to return to Pescara to find their home gone.
It was this experience that fueled Anna’s strength, courage, determination, and her love of family and that which would sustain her as an emigree to the United States in 1963. After a long boat trip to America, Anna recalls the boat docked in New York on a cold, rainy April day and Anna immediately became home sick for her familiar sunny Italy, but persevered and stayed.
The first thing she did after settling in Brooklyn was to take English classes to ensure her success as a single working woman in a strange country. Anna was employed as a garment worker. Her knowledge of Italian, Spanish, and English as well as her fierce work ethic and innate intelligence were skills and qualities valued by her employers as Anna would bridge communication gaps with other employees and assisted with banking that other employees could not. Anna later became a Naturalized American Citizen.
She met another Italian Immigrant, Stanley, who was from Sicily. Anna and Stanley married and had two daughters. They both worked hard, saved what they could and sacrificed everything to provide a better life for their daughters in pursuit of the American Dream. Anna was a very forward-thinking woman for her generation and culture and although Anna’s education was cut short in the 5th grade by a war, she was determined that her daughters would get the best education possible to ensure their independence and happiness. Both she and Stanley painstakingly sacrificed and saved enough money to send both girls to parochial school, college and one daughter to Law School.
Anna, predeceased by her husband Stanley in 2010, is survived by her loving and devoted daughters, Rosa Sasso (Steve) of Allendale, Elisa Zurlini (Craig) of Ramsey and her beloved grandchildren, Robby Sasso, Anna Zurlini, Michael Zurlini and James Zurlini. Also surviving Anna is her last surviving sister, Elsa in Italy and many nieces and nephews in both Italy and The U.S.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, January 13, 2022 from 11 AM - 12:30 PM at Van Emburgh-Sneider-Pernice Funeral Home, 109 Darlington Ave, Ramsey with a funeral mass to follow at 1 PM at St. Paul RC Church in Ramsey. (The funeral mass will be live streamed) Interment will follow at Maryrest Cemetery in Mahwah.
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