Tinella Montemorano, 'angel of Clyde,' 104 - Catholic Courier

Tinella Montemorano, ‘angel of Clyde,’ 104

Tinella Montemorano’s family is sure that heaven recently added one more angel to its ranks.

Mrs. Montemorano, often referred to by her family as “the angel of Clyde,” passed away peacefully at her home July 16, 2008, just 35 days before her 105th birthday. She was surrounded by her family, as she had been for much of her life.

Tinella means “guardian angel” in Italian, and this was an appropriate moniker for the feisty but faith-filled woman, her daughter, Agnes McKinney, told the Catholic Courier in 2003, when Mrs. Montemorano celebrated her 100th birthday.

Each day she prayed the rosary for everyone in her family. In her last days Mrs. Montemorano became unable to physically hold her rosary and instead kept her place as she prayed by looking at a large rosary hanging on the wall next to her, said her grandson, Michael Montemorano.

Early on, his grandmother used to pray one rosary each day for each of her family members. She was forced to scale down and instead say one rosary for each family group as her family grew by leaps and bounds. Mrs. Montemorano and her husband, Michael A. Montemorano, were married in 1923 and had four children. When she passed away, Mrs. Montemorano had 25 grandchildren, 66 great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Montemorano, a lifelong member of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Clyde, was born Aug. 21, 1903, to Santo and Angeline Cozza Salerno. Her father was the first Italian immigrant to settle in Clyde, and her husband also emigrated from Italy, Michael Montemorano said.

His grandmother was well-known throughout Clyde for her green thumb and her prowess in the kitchen, Michael Montemorano added. She grew everything from fruits and vegetables to berries and nut trees, and she enjoyed cooking for large groups of people, often feeding the employees from her family’s gravel business and even hobos during the Great Depression.

Not one given to waste, Mrs. Montemorano watered her garden with rainwater she collected and cooked anything her family brought home, regardless of how unusual the day’s catch might have been. She cooked everything from deer and woodchuck to frogs and snapping turtles, Michael Montemorano said.

“A lot of times you were wondering what you were eating. It was always good, though,” he said. “She could cook an old Army boot and make you think it was good.”

A spunky woman, Mrs. Montemorano was never one to mince words, but there was a kind heart underneath her tough shell, her grandson noted.

“She was always honest with people and told them how she felt, but she always loved everybody. She knew a lot of people, touched a lot of people, and they touched her, too,” he said.

Father Joseph Marcoux presided over Mrs. Montemorano’s funeral liturgy, which was held July 19, 2008, at St. John the Evangelist Church in Clyde. Interment was at St. John’s Cemetery in Clyde.

She is survived by her son Santo (Sylvia) Montemorano; her daughters Agnes McKinney and Jean (Leo) Vetter; her brother Peter Salerno; her daughter-in-law Lou Ann Montemorano; and her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband; her son Pasquale Montemorano; three sisters; four brothers; and two stepbrothers.

Memorials may be made to St. John’s Church Memorial Fund, 149 Sodus St., Clyde, NY 14433.

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