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Coda - Final Notes and Obituaries for Jim Misitano's Parents and Siblings

(Obituaries edited to remove names of grandchildren of Jim's parents)

Frances Gelsomina (Mollica) Misitano
  • Birth: May 5, 1903, (Caraffa, Reggio Calabria, Italy)
  • Death: May 18, 1973, Altoona, PA
  • Marriage: February 18, 1917, Francis Misitano

Obituary in Altoona Mirror, May 19th, 1973

Frances Misitano of 1607 15th St. died at 2:25 pm yesterday, May 18, 1973, in Altoona Hospital, where she was admitted May 13 after an extended illness.

She was born May 5, 1903, at Caraffa, Reggio Calabria, Italy, a daughter of Philip and Grace (Baldesarri) Mollica, and married Frank A Misitano on February 18, 1917, in Mt. Carmel Catholic Church (Altoona). Mr. Misitano died August 4th, 1963.

Surviving are seven children, Philip, Vincent and Thomas of Altoona, Joseph of Canoga Park, CA, Francis of Sylmar, CA, Mrs. Grace Lotti of Fr. Lauderdale, FL, and Pauline of Arlington, VA; 22 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a brother and two sisters, Carmel, Mrs. Catherine Baldesarro and Agatho of Altoona, and a half-brother John Mollica of Altoona.

Jim Jr. and Frances (my Grandmother) ready for my high school graduation

Grandson Jim's Final Notes

As mentioned in an earlier note, I spent some wonderful quality time with my grandmother, Frances, after the passing of my grandfather, in the form of frequent trips to a Bingo hall in a nearby mountain town. As I was completing my senior year of high school, I applied to some great universities, some of which required an in-person interview with the applicant in a distant city. Cue my "traveling partner" for a road trip (by car) to Johnstown to an interview with an MIT alumni, and a train trip to Pittsburgh for an interview at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Club.

The Johnstown trip included a mandatory stop at the "Italian Market" in Johnstown, where one could find a huge selection of Italian salamis, cheeses, and olives that were not yet available in Altoona stores (but of course are now found in almost any big grocery store anywhere).

The Pittsburgh trip included another of Grandmother's favorite means of travel, the Pennsylvania Railroad, which had provided her family with 40+ years of employment for her husband, and which the immediate family of such employees enjoyed free passage on trains thereafter. Of course, Grandmother packed a wonderful lunch for the two of us to enjoy on this journey.

I once asked her about why she was not looking at the camera in the above photo, and she quickly answered that she knew if she turned her head toward the windows that were providing light, it would show her eyes in the most favorable fashion.

As tribute to our time travelling my senior year of high school, she gave me the electric typewriter shown below. This typewriter went on to assist me in countless college writing assignments over the next years.

My graduation gift from Grandmother:

By some cosmic serendipity, my first work assignment with a consulting firm after graduating college was at the Altoona Hospital. An aunt of mine on my mother's side was a head nurse at this hospital, and as my work there had me going to many departments and interviewing employees, I was quickly known to many of the staff there. Only a week or so after I started working there, I was contacted by one of the nurses and given the news that my grandmother had passed away from a heart ailment, and was in one of the rooms there. I didn't get a chance to see her before her passing, but I was the first family member to have the privilege of saying a good-bye to her in person, less than an hour after her death. I was able to make use of this "private wake" to reflect on her qualities and experiences, and our shared times together. It is a kind of gentle nostalgia that I can somehow revisit at will now, especially after reliving so many of her family situations and activities while preparing the above letters and notes for publication.

- Jimmy Jr.


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