Helen Pennacchia

Obituary of Helen Pennacchia

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Helen Yolanda Pennacchia died at home following a lengthy illness one month shy of her 96th birthday. A life long resident of Princeton, born to Pasquale and Aldagisia Taraschi, Helen was the third of six children. Preceded in death her loving husband of 71 years Dominick, her daughter Angela Bechtelheimer, sisters Josephine Zoccola,Edith Caponi, Rose Merrifield, Mary Zorochin, brothers Pasquale Jr., and Liberty She leaves two daughters: Rina Pennacchia of Annapolis, Maryland and Patricia Giallella of Princeton; her son-in-law Victor Giallella, two grandchildren Jennifer Cantalupo and her husband Michael of South Easton, Mass. and Andrew Giallella of Princeton. She also leaves her son-in-law Paul Bechtelheimer of Turnersville ,New Jersey, wife Christine and son Paul; her sister-in-law Rina Cenci of Rome, Italy and several nieces and nephews, noting especially Gratina LaFauci, the flower girl in her wedding, who called every day to check on her well being. Mrs. Pennacchia retired after 18 years from the Princeton Regional Schools where she was Cafeteria Manager at the John Witherspoon School and previously at the Valley Road School. Her profession combined her love of children and the culinary arts. Her parents immigrated from Campobasso and Pescara Italy. Helen became a Charter Member of the Girl's Club at the Dorothea Van Dyke McLean Association. She was proud of her Italian Heritage and worked hard to preserve and to pass on the traditions of her father and mother to her children and to other members of her family. She continued her tradition of gardening, canning vegetables and fruits for the winter, baking; cooking for love of it she crocheted, knitted, as taught by her Mother. She gardened with her father; made wine, and enjoyed taking about farm life and the daily chores she performed to help her mother and father. Up and until the death of her Mother, every holiday was celebrated at her home with her mother and siblings and extended families. These times were precious to her and she loved every minute of life with her family. She attended St. Paul School and was a member of the Sodality of the Blessed Mother. During World War II, she volunteered with the Princeton Chapter of the Red Cross and sent care packages to her husbands' family who lived in Rome during the war. Active in St. Paul Church and officer of the Golden Agers she often reminisced about their wonderful dinners she and her husband Dominick prepared for the club as well as many trips to Atlantic City with their good friends Bill and Mary Derby. The Princeton Knights of Columbus presented her with the Father Michael Farren Service Award for outstanding and dedicated service to her church, community and country. Faith, family and food were the center of her life and she continued to teach us until her final breath. She will be greatly missed. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Paul's Church , 214 Nassau Street, Princeton, N.J. on Wednesday, January 19 at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow in St. Paul's Cemetery. Family and friends may visit on Tuesday, January 18 from 3 to 6:00 p.m. at the Mather-Hodge Funeral Home, 40 Vandeventer Avenue, Princeton, N. J. In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations may be made to the Health Care Ministry of Princeton, PO Box 1517, Princeton, NJ 08542, St. Paul Church, 214 Nassau Street, Princeton 08542 or to the National Center for Padre Pio, 111 Barto Road, Barto, Pennsylvania19504.
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