1209 Post Road | Fairfield, Connecticut | 06824
Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Mafalda Gigliotti
Mafalda Rose “Mickey” Gigliotti, age 101, died peacefully on January 26, 2019 in her home easing gently from one life into the next with her daughter, Donna, by her side. She was born in Bridgeport, to Dr. Paul D. and Mrs. Elena C. Hippolitus, both involved in the founding of Park City Hospital in Bridgeport. She graduated from Harding High School in 1935 and from the former Arnold College, University of Bridgeport, in 1939.
With WWII raging, her younger sisters, Elena and Pauline, had already enlisted in the local armed services. Mickey joined the American Red Cross and signed up for a course on ambulance driving and maintenance in the European theater. She passed with high marks but did not account for her strict Sicilian father’s reaction—No!
Her reaction was to join Remington Arms working three shifts tapering 50 caliber bullets. Within a few months, she met the handsome manager of her section, and within six months they were married on New Year’s Eve. The rest, as they say, is history.
With her beloved husband, Bernard “Bernie” F. Gigliotti, they shared 46 years of marriage. Dinner conversation levels sometimes bordered on WWII intensity, but then they could be found dancing to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in the family room! Theirs was a deep, supportive, loving marriage which provided a solid foundation for their family and sustained them throughout their own lives with good friends, extensive travel, Broadway shows, and decades of parties and family celebrations.
Moving to Trumbull after marriage, Mickey began teaching physical education at Middlebrook Jr. High School, Trumbull. Re-assigned to the new Trumbull High School, she taught PE there for almost 40 years. She loved her job because she loved her students, the subject matter, and the faculty camaraderie .
While some could perceive PE as a “soft” course, she made her classes “teaching moments” requiring responsibility, accountability, high performance and behavior standards in her class. Her students rewarded her in 1962. The seniors dedicated the yearbook to her as senior class advisor. Her former students still say, “Mrs. Gigliotti was strict but fair.”
Mickey retired in June 20, 1988 and lost her dear husband the next day. Suffering two major losses in one 48-hour period, she decided to take a part-time position with TJMaxx, Milford, managing the dressing room “just a few days a week to keep me busy and make a little money.” Well, 22 years later she retired again at age 94! When hospitalized for pneumonia, she quit her job precipitously with a phone call from her hospital bed. Later, she wanted her job back, but as she said, “Who would hire a 94-year old?” She stopped driving at 99.
Her cherished children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the loves of her life. She traveled by car and plane for decades to cover birthdays, sporting events, recitals, graduations, marriages, baptisms and bar mitzvahs until she could no longer travel. The birth of her first grandchild, Christopher, transformed her into “Nonna,” and Nonna she became to so many.
Mickey was a remarkable woman who touched lives with just one touch of her wit, generosity and kindness. She embraced life with passion. (She went on an African safari by herself at age 83 and gave her sneakers to the van driver because he didn’t have any.) Mafalda Rose epitomized the last of the Greatest Generation—humble, conscientious, self-reliant, self-sacrificing, and quietly enduring.
She was predeceased by her husband, Bernard F. Gigliotti, Milford; Grandson, Christopher Cook, Fairfield; her sisters Elena Howard, Bellows Falls, VT; Pauline Tremallo, Stratford; Rose Hockenbrock, Burlington, VT.
Mickey is survived by her daughters, Donna Curran and husband, Michael Curran, Black Rock section of Bridgeport; Linda Stevenson and husband, William Stevenson, Rochester, NY; and Therese Gigliotti and partner, Mark Reading, Burlington, MA; granddaughters Dr. Courtney Cook Stephenson, Charlotte, NC, and Vanessa Capone and husband, Jeff Capone, Nashua, NH; granddaughter-in-law Camilla Cook, Fairfield; grandsons Daniel Hoffman, and spouse, Tracy Hoffman, Needham, MA, and Benjamin Hoffman, Boston, MA; great-grandchildren George and Julianna Stephenson, Charlotte, NC; Kirsten Cook, Fairfield, and Jordan and Kendall Hoffman, Needham, MA; her son-in-law, Michael's daughter, Stacey Curran, and granddaughter, Ella Curran, both of Black Rock.
She especially enjoyed her special gatherings with her many dear nieces and nephews. Mickey also treasured her life-long friends, Gloria and Edna Francesconi, Patricia and Catherine Petrelli, and Diane Schwartz.
The family would like to thank the dedicated staff, nurses, aides of The Watermark at 3030 Park for their kind, professional care and to recognize the good company of her breakfast and dinner mates there. Mickey was able to remain so independent because of the caring community that surrounded her.
Calling hours will be held on Thursday, February 7th from 4 to 8 PM in the Lesko & Polke Funeral Home, 1209 Post Road, in Fairfield Center. Her Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, February 8th at 11 AM in Assumption Church, 545 Stratfield Road, Fairfield. Her interment in Saint Mary Cemetery will be private.
For those who wish to donate in her memory, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and American Red Cross were Mickey’s favorite charities. For travel directions, or to sign her online register, please visit www.LeskoPolkeFuneralHome.com