There will be a Mass of Christian Burial to be held Monday, April 2, 2018, at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Basilica, Youngstown, with Very Rev. Msgr. Michael J. Cariglio Jr. officiating, preceded by a 9:15 a.m. prayer service held at the Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, 4221 Market Street, Boardman, for Philomena (Long) Conti, 102, of Poland, who passed away Tuesday evening, March 27, 2018, with her family by her side.
She was born May 4, 1915 in Youngstown, the daughter of the late Giovanni (John) and Anna (Insalata) Longo and was a lifelong area resident.
The influenza epidemic of 1918 took her young mother, leaving her father, who never remarried to raise her and her one-year old sister Mary. The two shared an inseparable bond lasting for 88 years.
Playing and teaching piano were prominent in her life from the age of 14. She attended Thorn Hill Elementary, played in the school orchestra and after graduating from Scienceville (North) High School in 1933, she and her sister performed as a combo throughout the area for many years. At the age of 92, she played to an invitation only “Evening of Piano” at Stambaugh Auditorium for one hour without using sheet music.
Her marriage in 1941, to her high school sweetheart, Stephen (Steve) Conti was a happy marriage for 52 years until his passing in 1993. Steve was a well-known flight instructor, ventriloquist, and broadcaster and founder of WNIO Radio 1570. She was always very supportive of his many endeavors.
Being involved was always very important to her as she was active in PTA, serving as President for two terms while her daughter was in grade school, was a presiding judge for many years in her voting precinct and also collected in the neighborhood for many years for Mothers March on Polio!
Her first job was in the office of Air Conditioning Training Corp and then worked for 22 years at Burton Supply Company as secretary and parts department manager.
She was the oldest living member of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Basilica and was named Mt. Carmel “Italian Woman of the Year” in 2014 at the annual church festival. Her many volunteer positions for the church were chairperson of the bereavement committee and managing the Eternal Flame as well as working monthly spaghetti dinner for many years.
Her 100th Birthday was celebrated with over 100 family and friends. She entertained everyone with several songs that evening on the piano and was also still driving at that age.
Besides her family, her “Greatest Love” was the Irish tenor, Daniel O’Donnell. She played his videos every night and travelled with family to many of his appearances around the country. He even called her on her 100th Birthday from the Canary Islands with a special birthday wish!
She was a true lover of anything Italian and has always shown great pride in her Italian ancestry. She truly was a wonderful role model. Her greatest enjoyment was being around family and friends and will be sadly missed by all who knew her as a kind and gentle lady. She leaves us with many happy memories of holidays and noisy celebrations filled with love seated around crowded tables.
She leaves behind to hold onto her precious memories her daughter, Phyllis (Robert) Ricchiuti. She also leaves behind her grandchildren, Vincent (Dini) Ricchiuti, Julie (Thomas) Mark and Daniel (Doralice) Ricchiuti that knew her as Nonna and her great-grandchildren, Giuliana and Antonio Ricchiuti, Christopher, Alexa, Anna and Michael Mark and Luca, Mia and Teo Ricchiuti that knew her as Bisnonna.
Besides her parents and husband, Steve, Philomena was preceded in death by her grandson, Anthony and his wife, Paula Rich along with their unborn child and a sister, Mary Sirbu.
Family and friends may pay their respects Sunday, April 1, 2018 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Rossi & Santucci Funeral Home, 4221 Market Street, Boardman, (new location).
Interment will be at Poland Riverside Cemetery where she will be laid to rest beside her beloved husband and grandchildren
Family and friends may visit www.rossisantuccifh.com to sign the guestbook and send condolences to Philomena’s family.
On behalf of Philomena’s family, they would like to give Special Thanks to Dr. Frank Rich, caregiver “angels” Bobbi, Betty, Jane, Debbie, Missy and Lori, Hospice of the Valley Palliative Care and a very special family friend, Charleen Malone for all their kindness and compassion shown to them throughout this difficult time.
At this time of great loss, our family respectfully requests that you please do not send food or flowers. We understand the desire to ‘reach out’ and we do not mean to sound in any way unappreciative. We ask for your prayers and that you consider a gift be sent in her name to: The Rich Center for Autism, Capital Campaign, Fedor Hall, One University Plaza, Youngstown, Ohio, 44555. Your kindness will help our many families dealing with autism. This will be your greatest gift to us.
A television tribute will air Monday, April 2 at the following approximate times:
12:25 p.m. WKBN, 6:58 p.m. on MyYTV and 10:37 p.m. FOX plus two additional spots throughout the day.