Raffaela (Raffaelina) Mellace, 86, of Rome, went to be in the loving arms of the Lord Jesus on Saturday, with her family by her side. She was born the daughter of Anthony and Angela Mungo in Staletti, Italy on February 7, 1935. On November 8, 1953, she was united in marriage with Frank Mellace, a union of nearly 68 years. In 1962, she immigrated to the United States to join her beloved parents and sister in Rome, NY, accompanied by her husband, and three young children. After coming to the United States, she welcomed four more children. In 1972, Raffaelina and her husband opened their family business, Mellace’s Produce, on N. James Street which they operated for many years. Two years later, she proudly became an American citizen. She was a member of St. John the Baptist Church.
Raffaelina was a kind, caring, gentle soul who would always greet family, friends, or strangers with her ever-present smile. She was renowned for and took great pride in her cooking, particularly her pizza, sauce, and meatballs, and she took great joy in watching people delight while enjoying her amazing meals. She had a generous and welcoming nature, and she fed all who walked through her door, oftentimes more than they expected! She enjoyed the simple things in life – watching game shows or soap operas with her friends, cooking (especially her legendary Sunday family dinners), baking banana bread, Christmas cookies, or birthday cakes for her kids, or dropping off care packages of homemade tomato sauce or fresh fruit to her loved ones.
Raffaelina was the core of her family, a peacemaker and an anchor through times of adversity. Although her family and network of friends was very large, she made each member feel special, and maintained almost daily contact with all of them. This, ultimately, was the source of her greatest happiness – the connections and relationships she maintained with the ones she loved. Her family will cherish the memory of her smile, her mischievous sense of humor, and her warm and loving spirit.
She is survived by her beloved husband; her seven children, Fr. Anthony of Curitiba, Brazil, Anna M. (Joseph) Pasqualetti of Rome, Angela (Edward) Curry of Lindenhurst, Frank Jr., Gino (Joelle), Joseph (Amy), and Michael (Rebecca), all of Rome; her twenty-one grandchildren, Gerald (Renee) Pasqualetti, Melissa (Michael) Servello, Joseph Pasqualetti, Kathleen (Chase) Jennings, Kristin (Willis) Somervell, Joseph (Kristen) Curry, Jennifer, Frank (Molly), Michael, Anna (Twinadri) Anggaputra, Olivia (Steven) Honeck, Taylor and Nicholas Urtz, Gino, Nickolas, Joseph, Sophia, Andrew, Isaiah, Amanuel, and Noah Mellace; and, 15 cherished great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her loving sister, Concetta Griffo, along with many nieces and nephews, and many dear friends, including Lucy Pettinelli, Adele Jeffalone, Michelina Sacco, and Rena and Tony Agosto. She was predeceased by her parents, Angela and Anthony Mungo, her father and mother-in-law, Antonio and Maria Mellace, brothers-in-law Gregorio Griffo and Anthony “Toto” Mellace, sister-in-law Anna Commodaro, beloved cousin Pepe Procopio, and daughter-in-law Brenda Mellace.
Raffaelina's family would like to thank the staff of the Abraham House, and all of the doctors, nurses, and staff who cared for her during her final years.
Family and friends are invited to call at Barry Funeral Home of Rome on Thursday, September 23rd from 4-8:00 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, September 24th at 11:00 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Church, with a luncheon to immediately follow at Life Church located at 1110 Black River Blvd., Rome. As Raffaelina would have wanted it, all are welcome to attend.