It is with deep regret and sadness that we have to tell all of you that my beautiful mother passed away early this morning. Words could never say enough about how she was a perfect mom, or how she always knew the right thing to say, and how much she taught us about living life. The love and importance of family was the greatest lesson. She never talked the talk, but she taught by example. She was the kind of mom that would sacrifice anything and everything just so we would have something more. No matter how great or small, her family’s needs were her priority, and she would move heaven and earth for us.
Mom was a truly exceptional person and way ahead of her time. Before there was ever a “Me Too” movement my mom was the fiercely independent woman that set the example for us in so many ways. In the 1940s and 1950s when it was rare that a woman worked outside the home, my mom was enrolled at Hofstra University (back then it was Hofstra College). She knew, as the daughter of Italian immigrants, and as English was not her first language, that education and learning were the way to a better life. She instilled this important lesson in all of us growing up and gifted us with the love of education and learning. She made sure that we were always surrounded by books, including everything from Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare. There was never a question that all of us would go to college/university. If we have achieved any bit of success in life it was because it came from her sheer willpower to see us succeed.
The work ethic that she instilled in us was something extraordinary. Again, she taught by example. During World War II, when she was just a teenager, she worked in the cafeteria at the Republic Aviation factory serving sandwiches to those helping with the war effort. After graduating from high school, she not only enrolled at Hofstra but, despite her parents urging her to get married at a very young age (she refused to enter into an arranged marriage with some dude named Rocco), she went to work full time at the phone company as a switch board overseas operator (back when AT&T was the only phone company around). It was this kind of fierce independence that mom always had at her core - not doing things just because they were expected of her, but she always had a greater vision for herself and for her family. The greatest gift she gave to us was the “vision thing” and the knowledge that we were only limited by our own imaginations.
Of course, she did get married and she didn’t have to go far to meet my dad because they grew up across the street from one another. That beautiful love story started in the 1920s in Freeport, New York where my parents were both born. They were the kind of husband and wife that were inseparable in every way and the perfect complement to one another. It was the kind of love and adoration that was truly something for the movies, filled with so many acts of love and kindness great and small that there is not enough space here to list them. One of my earliest and favorite childhood memories was of mom and dad dancing together in the living room to Glenn Miller records. Together with my father, my mom created the happiest home I have ever known.
Like every great Italian-American family, life revolved around the kitchen. Mom was a culinary success long before Food TV was ever a thought. Dinner time was something really special. And while my dad was a great cook too, mom wore the apron around the house. There was Sunday sauce, the perfect pastas, the best roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, and legendary lasagnas. But it wasn’t just about the food; it was about bringing family and friends together. Every one of our friends knew that they could come by the house at dinner time and an extra place was set without discussion. Every holiday was an open house where anyone could stop by for a piece of mom’s famous lasagna. The love of family and friends and community was the art that she created.
Ninety-four years is a long time to walk this Earth. Mom did it with the love and grace that we can only hope to emulate. She is forever in our hearts and souls.
In lieu of flowers, Frances' family is requesting donations to team Frances Preziosi for the walk against Alzheimer's on October 7, 2023 in Bradley Beach NJ.