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Mary Valenza Iaccarino, 92, passed away peacefully at home in North Haven on Feb. 15. Mary was born to the late Thomas Valenza and Elvira (Esposito) Valenza on Oct. 20, 1928, in New Haven.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law David and Christine (Tina) Iaccarino, her daughter-in-law Joan W. Iaccarino, and her son-in-law Salvatore Fazzino. She is also survived by her sister and lifelong friend Mimi V. Esposito. Mary has been affectionately called “Grammy” by her grandchildren: Carley (Bret) Johnson, Kristin (David) Magnano, Matthew (Cristina) Iaccarino, Marta (Craig) Kenney, and Amy Fazzino (her significant other Al Marrero). She has been fortunate and proud to have eight great-grandchildren: Grady, Elijah, and Noah Johnson; Libby, Liana, and Cameron Magnano; and David and Wade Kenney. She was excited for the birth of her ninth great-grandchild Iaccarino expected later this year. Mary also leaves behind many nieces and nephews from the Esposito, Iaccarino, Guarnieri, and Rapetski families, along with the Musco family, all with whom she shared a special bond.
Mary survived the loss, with a permanent broken heart, of her son Frank Iaccarino, Jr., and her daughter Lisa Fazzano. She was also predeceased by her longtime companion Philip Micalizzi, and previously her former husband Frank Iaccarino, Sr.
Mary graduated from Hillhouse High School in 1946, attended Larson Junior College to study art, and went on to the McDowell School of Design in New York City to study dressmaking and tailoring. Mary had a keen sense for fashion and fine jewelry, and would always dress exquisitely, even if just out for the day.
Mary, a shopper at heart, had extensive experience in the retail business, working at Sears Roebuck, and then spent 10 years as co-owner of Little Things in North Haven (a children’s clothing and gift store). She also worked in the banking industry at various local banks and credit unions for many years prior to her retirement in 1991.
For many years, Mary enjoyed traveling throughout much of the United States, as well as to many countries, especially Italy and Sicily, with her companion Philip and her family members.
Mary loved all animals, and especially her cat companions over time, including Chipper, Sugar, Spice, and Midnight.
For more than 40 years after graduating from high school, she socialized each month with her many friends at each other’s homes and local restaurants for their women’s social club gatherings for laughter, good food, and camaraderie.
Mary had a passion for cooking and hosting and made many delicious Italian and American dishes, with some family favorites including lasagna, meatballs, and chocolate cake. Each Christmas, she baked a wide assortment of delicious cookies by the dozens and was pleased to share them with everyone.
Mary was loving to her core and made sure everyone felt special on their birthday with cards, cakes, and celebrations. Holidays were important and to be shared with family and friends. She hand-crafted beautiful Christmas stockings for each of her children, grandchildren (and their spouses), and for nearly all of her great-grandchildren.
Throughout her 92 years, Mary instilled an everlasting understanding of the importance of family, tradition, hard work and compassion.
The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to her primary doctor, Dr. Mark Kasper, and to her capable caregivers, especially Aba Afful, for all their compassion, excellent care, and patience. Special thanks to VNA Community Healthcare and Hospice of Guilford for providing wonderful support and comfort.
A service was held Feb. 22 at The Havens Family, North Haven Funeral Home, followed by entombment in the All Saints Mausoleum. For anyone so inclined, donations in Mary’s memory may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 3 Landmark Square, Suite 330, Stamford, CT 06901 or the American Cancer Society, 825 Brook Street, I-91 Tech Ctr. #3, Rocky Hill, CT 06067. For her online obituary, please visit www.northhavenfuneral.com.