age 82, of North Bergen passed away on July 19, 2020 after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis and complications from a stroke. Maria was born in Ragusa, Sicily and came to the United States at the age of 12.
Maria was a seamstress but was best known as a dedicated mother and homemaker. She was devoted to her family and her church. She took great pride in raising her two daughters and cared for her aging parents as well. She always volunteered her time and her sewing skills to her children's school/parish of St. John Nepomucene in Guttenberg. She also volunteered many years at The Holy Name Multiple Sclerosis Center in Teaneck where she brought her famous homemade biscotti that everybody loved.
Maria had a genuine heart and enjoyed being around others, always smiling and giving words of encouragement. She found purpose and joy in everything she did and thanked God everyday for all the blessings that He had put forth in her life. She was determined to be independent and never let her physical limitations stop her from doing the things she wanted to do. When it would take 5 min to use her wheelchair to go to church she insisted on walking with her walker. During mass the priest would offer to bring communion to her seat but she insisted on walking up to the altar. Maria loved her Italian heritage but also treasured being an American and voted at every election. She hung out her American flag on the front porch every Holiday and when she couldn't do it any longer she made sure it got done. Although life threw many challenges at her she always faced them with great courage and faith!
Maria was predeceased by her parents John and Paolina (nee Vitale) Occhipinti and by her husband Joseph Vilardo. Maria is survived by daughter's Maria Teresa (nee Vilardo) McCaffrey and her husband Lawrence, and Rosanna Vilardo and companion John Protano. She also leaves behind grandchildren Joseph McCaffrey and Amanda Rogers.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to
The Holy Name MS Center
718 Teaneck Road Teaneck NJ 07666
201 833-3000 ext 3899. www.holyname.org/foundation/donation.aspx
Due to the civid 19 pandemic. A repass will be held at a later date.
Even during times of social distancing, anyone who has suffered a loss deserves love and support more than ever before. Let the family know you care by leaving treasured memories, thoughts and prayers in our Online Guestbook.