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Mary Lou (McCormick) Vitelli, age 82, of Milford, CT passed away on October 4, 2019. Mary Lou was born in Bridgeport, CT on April 21, 1937 to the late Earl S. McCormick and Loretta B. (Giblin). Mary Lou was predeceased by the love of her life and beloved husband Anthony Paul Vitelli, Sr. for whom she cared until his death July 8, 1977. She is survived by her three children, Mary Louise Vitelli (Richard Scarth), Anthony P. Vitelli, Jr. (Carolyn Andersen), and Michael G. Vitelli and her brother Edward J. McCormick with whom she enjoyed daily visits. She is also survived by her “sister-cousins”, Celeste (Terrence Tomasko), Miriam Bull, and Mary Lee (William Seaman) and her dear brother and sister-in-law Eugene F. and Marie Vitelli and sister-in-law Nancy Vitelli and many nieces, nephews, cousins and Godchildren.
Mary Lou is predeceased by her brother Earl S. McCormick and his wife Terry, sisters-in-law; Mary Vitelli and Marye McCormick and brothers-in-law; Gabriel (Nancy), George (Carol), Thomas Vitelli and Anthony Bull.
Mary Lou’s mother died when she was two years old and she was lovingly raised by her late Paternal Grandparents Leroy and Elizabeth Frances Alexander McCormick Wotton. Her Grandfather died when Mary Lou was six; she continued to live with her dear Grandmother (herself one of 15 children) until the age of ten, when Mary Lou and her Grandmother moved to Southern Parkway in Devon with her late Uncle Joseph L. and Aunt Mary F. (Heaphy) Wotton where she continued to be lovingly raised as a sister to cousins Celeste, Miriam, and Mary Lee. Mary Lou’s many fond memories of childhood in Devon included babysitting for the Casey and Doyle families.
Mary Lou remained a lifelong resident of Milford. She completed elementary school as a “day hop” at Blessed Sacrament School in Bridgeport, taking the public bus from Devon with Celeste. Mary Lou always said that her plan to become a teacher was formulated in her own Miss Garrity’s first grade class; since then learning and teaching were part of her life. She was a student in the first class to attend and graduate from the new Milford High School, Class of 1955. Upon graduation she was awarded one of three Teacher Preparation Scholarships and attended the Connecticut State Teacher’s College (now Southern Connecticut State University), graduating in 1959. In later years, Mary Lou went on to receive her Masters Degree in Teaching at SCSU.
Her first teaching position was in the “old” Central Grammar Elementary School in downtown Milford. She was assigned to the third grade, a class of 20 boys and 12 girls. In her second year of teaching, a new Vice Principal was assigned to the school, Anthony Paul Vitelli. Six months before she married “her Tony”, Tony was appointed Principal of Pumpkin Delight Elementary School where he served for 16 years until his death. With the birth of her children, Mary Lou left classroom teaching to commence a new kind of teaching, raising Mary Louise, Anthony and Michael. Mary Lou embraced her neighbors and lifelong friendships on Mansfield Road in Milford. She was happily active in the PTAs at Pumpkin Delight and Orange Avenue Schools, coaching the Bears Football Cheerleaders and serving as a Cub Scout Leader.
After the death of her husband, Mary Lou returned to the Milford School System, teaching this time first grade, at the “new” Central Grammar and then to Orchard Hills. She thrived on the hectic pace of teaching and raising her three children, always finding time to attend their sports and other activities. In 1987 Mary Lou was awarded “Connecticut Mother of the Year”, an honor she cherished.
Mary Lou’s faith in God, people and life was always apparent. She taught CCD for more than 40 years and was a communicant of St Mary Church, serving in several capacities as part of the Church Council and Ladies Guild. Following her retirement from teaching in 2002, Mary Lou continued her activities at St. Mary’s Ladies Guild, Church Women United, and enjoyed the Greater Bridgeport Retired Teachers and volunteering at the Milford Literacy Center.
In addition to teaching her students patriotic and cheerful songs, Mary Lou had a sharp mind for details, wonderful sense of humor and was an engaging storyteller, able to recount the most detailed of family and friends’ history including dates, locations and funny twists of life. Her humor carried through a life full of unexpected change.
Mary Lou was an avid sports fan with specific love for the New York Yankees and UCONN Women’s Basketball. She went to her first of many baseball and Yankees games at Yankee Stadium with her Father, Grandmother and Uncle at the age of 3 and celebrated her 80th birthday with family and friends in a special suite at the “new” Yankee Stadium. She loved the energy and events of New York City, which she attributed to her Father’s being the Chief Engineer in the Cos Cob Terminal for the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. She took her children along with nieces and nephews by train to Broadway and Radio City shows and special city restaurants.
Mary Lou didn’t have to travel far to enjoy life; local sports, plays, parades, music and family events filled her calendar. She always focused on education and learning as she celebrated life with her three favorite students shepherding them on their different paths throughout college and graduate school. As a Mother, she organized educational vacations for her family to Pennsylvania’s Amish Country, New York City (where she honeymooned), the Nation’s Capital for the inauguration of its metro, and many visits throughout New England. Over the years she enjoyed travels to visit her daughter in Belize and Russia, to celebrate her 60th birthday in Ireland and to enjoy the Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany.
Tragic events of her own life did not diminish her faith; Mary Lou possessed an indomitable ability to move forward with realistic understanding and acceptance of life’s events coupled with good humor. Many know of the quiet donations, car rides, lending an ear, work and family guidance and other assistance she gave without recognition.
Recent years introduced difficult health challenges that included Parkinson’s. Mary Lou continued at every step to demonstrate remarkable faith and strength. She appreciated the love and support she received from so many Milford vendors including but not limited to Visions Hair Salon, Young’s Nails, Key Bank and Peter Stark, Esq. The people who continued to grace her life in later years reflected her positive spirit; special thanks to Miriam Hernandez who provided unique daily care, Janice Frank who offered Communion and home visits for years, Jana Marques who ensured a clean house, Nurse Anne, Elza, Wendy and all their colleague’s care at West River Healthcare, home PT, OT and home blood draw throughout the years. Her doctors provided much needed care and attention with particular thanks to Dr. Srinath Kadimi. We will forever miss the love of our lives, her unconditional love for us, quick wit and are blessed to know that Mary Lou’s beautiful brown Irish eyes will continue to smile upon us.
Calling hours will be held at THE GREGORY F. DOYLE FUNERAL HOME, 291 Bridgeport Avenue, Milford on Tuesday, October 8, 2019 from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 10:30 am at Saint Mary Church (Precious Blood Parish), 70 Gulf Street, Milford, CT. Burial will follow at Saint Mary Cemetery, 425 Buckingham Avenue, Milford. Donations may be made to the “Anthony P. and Mary Lou M. Vitelli Scholarship Fund”, checks payable to Jonathan Law High School, mailing address: 20 Lansdale Avenue, Milford, CT 06460.
Anthony P. and Mary Lou M. Vitelli Scholarship Fund”, Checks payable to Jonathan Law High School.
20 Lansdale Avenue, Milford CT 06460