Louise Loscavio, 1919-2009

Patrick Newell

My great aunt, and the word “great” is apropos, Louise Loscavio, died last Monday, Sept. 14 just two weeks after celebrating her 90th birthday.
Aunt Louise married my grandmother’s brother, Frank, shortly after World War II. While she was not born a blood relative, she was every bit the Loscavio. My mother, Margaret, had an extremely close relationship with Louise, especially so after my grandmother passed away in 1981. She assumed a motherly type role toward my mother, and for us – me and my three sisters – she was a grandmotherly figure. We all loved her dearly, and we gathered last Friday at St. Bartholomew’s Church to celebrate her life along with Louise’s children, grandchildren, and closest friends and family.
Often times, when speaking of the recently deceased, eulogies will glorify, accentuate, and perhaps even exaggerate the positive impact a person made on this earth. My cousin Frank, Louise’s son, eulogized his mother, and spoke of her humility, her kindness, her generosity, and her dedication to her family. She sacrificed, as did my uncle Frank, to give her children a better life.
The sacrifices made by this Italian-American family through some fairly lean times were not uncommon in the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, particularly in this area. My aunt rose before 5 a.m. a large portion of her working life to work her full-time job. She also kept a spotless house, toiled in the kitchen cooking for a family of seven, and still found time to reach out to others.
Not once in my entire life, through countless visits, did I go more than 60 seconds after entering her home without being offered something to eat or drink. How was it that she always had something perfectly delicious ready to serve at a moment’s notice? My experience with Aunt Louise is not unique, in fact, everyone who came in contact with her would have the same story to share.
My uncle Frank spoke eloquently of his mother, and as lofty as his praise became, it still was not possible to accurately quantify how wonderful and caring a person she really was. My aunt was such a steady and comforting presence in my life and my family’s life, and every good thing anyone may have said about her, it was all true.