Raffaela (Lena) D'Addio was born on June 27th 1938 to Giovanna and Vincenzo D'Addio. She was born in her parent's house in a little town called Santa Maria A Vico, northeast of Naples, Italy. She was the youngest of six children: Antonietta, Giuseppina, Angelina, Giuseppe, and Pasquale, she was the last sibling to survive. Lena's early life was shaped by the war raging across Europe. She attended public school in her hometown until 5th grade. When her aunt and uncle passed, her family took in five cousins. To help reduce this burden, at age 10 Lena was sent to live at a convent and attend a public school in the region near Avelliano, 50 km from home.
About six years later, she went home for appendix surgery and met her future husband Mario Pelella (who was visiting Italy with his mother Antonia Pelella). On October 1st 1955, they were the first couple to ever get married at a former seminary (which is now the Basilica of Assuntna) where hundreds of attendees were present to mark the event. On May 17th 1956 Lena disembarked at the New York Ship Terminal in Manhattan, from the Italian ocean liner Andria Doriea, which sank on a return voyage to America two months later. She and her new husband headed north to Highland Falls, NY where she spent the rest of her life working and raising her three sons & one daughter: John, Mario, Antonio and Giovanna. In the Fall of 1956, she took English classes at Ladycliff College and graduated in the Spring of 1957. Lena was always busy, and when not taking care of her children, she worked many jobs over the years: as a cook at Ladycliff College, Cafeteria manager at Sacred Heart School, Constitution Island Tour Guide, ice cream shop clerk, Terminal restaurant waitress, West Point child care aid, Stanley & Avon product sales woman, International Wine & Liquor store clerk, Gourmet coffee shop clerk, West Point PX coffee shop clerk... and when she was not working, she was knitting hats, scarves, shawls, and bed covers for family, friends, her nurses & doctors. Lena was blessed with eleven grandchildren: Jonathon, Nicholas, Mary, Mario Michael, Grace, Julianna, Christina, Anthony, Andrew, Sienna and Tyler. Lena passed away on May 7th at New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital over-looking the Hudson river, a few miles from where she disembarked 62 years earlier.
She is survived by her sons; John V. Pelella and his wife Victoria of Highland Falls, NY , Mario M. Pelella, Jr. and his wife Anne Marie of Montainview CA, Antonio Pelella and his wife Karen of Highland Falls, NY, her daughter Giovanna Truncale and her husband Michael, Jr. of Highland Falls, and her 11 grandchildren.
Visitation will be held from 5 – 8 p.m. on Monday May 13, 2019 at William F. Hogan Funeral Home, 135 Main Street Highland Falls, NY 10928. A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 14th at Sacred Heart Church, Highland Falls. Interment will follow at Eagle Valley Cemetery, Town of Highlands, NY.
Funeral arrangements by William F. Hogan Funeral Home, 845-446-2868 www.wfhoganfuneralhome.com.