Antonietta Bonanni

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - Antonietta Bonanni, a resident of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and Slingerlands, New York, died peacefully on February 20, 2018 in Palm Beach Gardens at the age of 89 with her devoted husband by her side.

Antonietta is survived by her cherished, dedicated and caring husband Renato of 64 years; her three loving children, Luciano (Christy) Bonanni, Pierino (Julie) Bonanni, Anna Maria (Anthony) Maritato; six adoring grandchildren (Christopher, Nicole, Matthew, Stefania, Renato, and Isabella) and one great grandchild (Lilah).  Antonietta is also survived by her sister Angelina Tenore and her brother Victor (Mary) Pujia of Irvington, New York, as well as many nieces and nephews. Antonietta is pre-deceased by her brother and his wife Armando and Santa Pujia and by her brother-in-law Michael Tenore.

Antonietta was born on November 16, 1928 in Monterosso, Calabria, Italy, to Antonio and Agar Pujia. Her father left for America when she was 2 years of age with the hope of bringing his family to America. However, World War II and other circumstances made the journey to America and reunion of the family with their father not possible for 17 years. During those early years in Calabria she grew to become refined and beautiful and a strong young woman. She cared for her ailing mother Agar whom she loved dearly, and helped run the family’s “generi alimentari” or general store, where they sold flour, sugar, wine, salt, and other essential items. She hid from bombs during the war, baked bread at night to sell in the family store the next day, washed the family’s clothes in a river, sewed, and made silk. And it was there she learned how to make meals from simple and inexpensive regional ingredients that today are considered the highest level of gourmet.

In 1947, when Antonietta was 19 years of age, when at last the journey was possible, she and her family (with the exception of her brother Armando, who chose to remain in Calabria) immigrated to America through Ellis Island. She worked as a seamstress in New Britain, Connecticut, for one year making $39 per week before she and her parents and siblings settled in Yonkers, New York.

On October 19, 1952, Antonietta met her future husband Renato. A true-life fairy tale, it was love for both of them at first sight. Renato, who is from Abruzzo, Italy, immigrated from France to Montreal, Canada, and was visiting his cousins and their families one night in Yonkers.  Antonietta was invited as a neighbor friend to the family gathering. After exchanging glances across a crowded dinner table, they shared a dance in a living room, during which their hearts began beating rapidly.  But more than that, they each had a deep sense that they could trust each other with their lives. Shortly after returning to Montreal, Renato wrote a letter to Antonietta’s father to ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Antonietta and Renato married on October 3, 1953. They went on to have three children. Working long hours, saving every dime they earned, living in a two family house, and making smart choices, they prospered and gave their children the opportunity for the education that was not available to them.  Once when among women who were comparing the size and shape of their wedding rings, Antonietta said, “my diamonds are my children who are at Manhattan College, the University of Rochester, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”  

Antonietta had many talents and beautiful qualities.  She was regal, immaculate, an incredible cook, loved to learn and was intellectually curious, possessed business savvy, had a young spirit, a beautiful singing voice, and a beautiful faith. She was an emotional rock. Above all, what defined her most was her selfless nature. Antonietta always acted out of love, putting others needs before her own. No meeting with her was devoid of lovingly prepared food or some kind of care package for the trip home. She was loved by all who knew her and experienced her boundless love.

Visitation hours will be Sunday in Yonkers, New York, from 2 pm to 6pm at Community Home for Funerals of Sinatra Family of Funeral Homes, 601 Yonkers Avenue, Yonkers, NY, 10704.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, February 26, 10am at the Parish of Mater Christi, 40 Hopewell St., Albany, NY 12208.

To those of you who wish to express your condolences please know that your kindness and prayers are more than enough.  For anyone who may wish to do something in memory of Antonietta Bonanni, donations can be sent to St. Ann’s Parish, 854 Midland Ave., Yonkers, NY 10704, to Mater Christi Parish, 40 Hopewell St., Albany, NY 12208, to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Attn: Office of Development, 2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL  33607, to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,  501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, TN  38105 or to any organization or charity of your choice.