Virginia Gagliardo (Castorina), 89, of Highland Falls, passed away Friday, July 20, 2018 with her children at her side. She was the loving wife of the late Anthony J. Gagliardo for 63 years.
Virginia was born in New York City's Lower East Side on August 30, 1928, daughter of the late Georgia (Caltaldo) and Vincent Castorina. She was a graduate of a New York City public school that specialized in fashion design. After graduation, she worked at Bonwit Teller and Henri Bendel, in the millinery department and as a fit model.
During that time, through her best friend, she met her husband and after a whirlwind romance of 8 months, he whisked her off to Crailsheim, Germany. She often spoke fondly of their years stationed in Europe and the opportunity to travel through Germany, France, and Italy, where she visited her mother's family in Sicily. She described her life as a young army wife in Germany, as some of the best years of her life, where life-long friendships were forged.
She then transferred with her husband to Georgia and Governors Island, finally settling in Highland Falls. She exercised her extraordinary seamstress skills during a 10-year career at West Point.
One day, while fitting a cadet, she discovered the young plebe was her long-lost Godson from Fort Benning, GA, Ronald Shinego. She and her husband became his sponsor while on West Point and many a weekend was spent cooking and baking for the young cadets who joined for holiday and weekend feasts. She loved the full and busy house.
She is also fondly remembered by her children's friends as being warm, welcoming, making sure they were well fed, and treating them as one of her own.
After retirement, she enjoyed her many friends in the area. She volunteered at the church thrift shop in Highland Falls and the West Point Catholic Church, keeping the rectory organized as well as other tasks. She became a regular of the ladies Friday lunch group. At one point, she sewed bibs for the entire group and they would bring them to every lunch. The ladies really enjoyed wearing them and the symbol of comradery it brought to them.
She is survived by her son Frank of Waterbury, CT and her daughter Susan of Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY. She is predeceased by her brothers Jim and Al and sisters Rose, Mary, Angela, Marie, and her oldest sister, Merutta, who died before the family emigrated to the United States. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, and extended family of her life-long friend, Ann Koenig, of Howard Beach, NY.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25th at William F. Hogan Funeral Home, 135 Main Street, Highland Falls, NY. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 26th at Sacred Heart Church, 353 Main Street, Highland Falls, NY. She will be laid to rest in St. Mary's Cemetery, Kingston, NY.