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Obituary of Virginia Rufolo
Virginia Rufolo (née Benizzi), a longtime Convent Station, NJ resident, died peacefully on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 at the age of 98. She was surrounded by her loving family.
Virginia is survived by her three daughters, Linda Perata (Leonard), Sandra Rufolo and Lori Westerhold (John); five cherished grandchildren, Alexandra Creech (Ross), Katherine Grace Westerhold (John White), Laura Baker (Tyler), John Dylan Westerhold (fiancée Tara Williams), and Thomas Westerhold; and seven great-grandchildren, Theodore Creech, Oliver Creech, Dylan Grace White, John Charles Oreste White, Ella Jane White, Charlie Baker, and Olivia Baker. She also leaves behind many nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly.
She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Oreste J. Rufolo, in 2006. She is also predeceased by her five sisters and two brothers.
Virginia was born in Brooklyn, NY on February 25, 1924 to the late Giacomo and Josephine Benizzi (née Scaramella). She was proud to call herself a Brooklyn girl and clung to those roots her entire life, even long after she had moved away. She lost her mother at the age of seven and her five older sisters doted on her as they stepped in to fill the role of her mother. She spent her summers at the home of her maternal aunt and uncle in Maspeth, Queens where she spent long, leisurely days hanging out with her cousins. It was at the home in Maspeth that she met Oreste who had just returned home from the European theatre of World War II. He asked her to go dancing that night and when he was slow to call her for a second date, she took the step and called him. They were married six months later on November 3, 1946.
After she married, they moved in with her married sister, Amelia, who lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was from Williamsburg that she commuted to her first job at the Fred P. Gaskell Import-Export Co. located at One Broadway in the financial district of Manhattan. She often told stories of her coworkers and of running up and down the steps of the subways in her silk stockings and tailored dresses as she travelled to and from her job, which she held for seven years, completing the bills of lading and working the company switchboard.
Virginia and Oreste bought their first home in Lindenhurst, Long Island in 1953. It was here that they began raising their three daughters.
In 1964, Oreste’s work brought them to York, PA where they remained for thirty years. Initially unhappy about this move because it took her away from her sisters and brother and was so culturally different than what she was used to, Virginia ultimately embraced the change. She came to love the Amish farmers’ markets, the rolling hillsides and the simpler lifestyle. It was here that she embraced the organic foods movement and farm-to-table ideologies way ahead of her time, as a devotee of Grace Lefevre, a natural and sustainable foods guru. Virginia maintained a holistic lifestyle until the end of her life and often referred to herself as still being a hippie from the ‘60s.
She and Oreste moved to Convent Station, NJ twenty five years ago to be closer to their grandchildren. Virginia was a very social person who enjoyed talking to everyone. She put these attributes to great use as a food demonstrator at Kings Food Markets in Mendham, NJ,where she worked for ten years making many new friends along the way.
Virginia had a green thumb, often just tossing seeds in a pot which would always grow to become large productive plants. She was a talented artist who enjoyed sketching and drawing as a hobby and she attended art classes at York College of Pennsylvania for several years. She loved Big Band music, particularly the Glenn Miller Band and she knew the words to all these and so many other songs. She will be remembered as breaking into song lyrics at the drop of a hat that somehow pertained to something that had just been said. She was fiercely independent and lived alone in a third floor condo with no elevator almost until her final day. She was tough and feisty and didn’t mind telling you what she thought. She loved the beach from an early age going to Coney Island and the Rockaways in her younger years, then the beaches of Long Island. In more recent years, she spent the better part of most summers at the beach house of her daughter on the Jersey shore. She never forgot anyone’s birthday and she always sent a card. She witnessed a century of technological changes with which she stayed up to date. She could tell you about the ice man bringing blocks of ice in his cart but she could also text and post on Facebook. She embraced her Roman Catholic faith her entire life and she was devoted to her family who will miss her very much.
Relatives and friends are invited to celebrate Virginia’s life. There will be a visitation on Friday, November 11, 2022 from 9:00 AM to 11:15 AM at the Madison Memorial Home, 159 Main Street, Madison, NJ. A Mass of Christian Burial will immediately follow the visitation on Friday at 12:00 PM at St. Thomas More Roman Catholic Church, 4 Convent Rd, Morristown, NJ. Interment will be held on Monday, November 14, 2022 at 11:30 AM at Calverton National Cemetery, 210 Princeton Boulevard, Calverton, NY.
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