Beloved Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother and Sister
Antoinette Rita Casalaspro, Antoinette (Ann) was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Her parents, Joseph and Angelina Tommasino, immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s and started a family in New York with Ann and her six siblings. They lived in a 10 family tenement apartment house on Prospect Street until the city made way for the BQE, when the family later moved to 69th Street. As a teenager, Ann was an adamant photographer who captured everyone’s lives with her Brownie camera, memories she was proud of for decades to come. She worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard war factory during WWII at only 16 years old, where she was honored to help her troops at home and abroad. Ann met Antonio (Tony) Casalaspro through friends in Brooklyn, and they married on May 22,1948 and eventually moved to Steuben St. in Grasmere on Staten Island in 1964. Raising three kids, Ann was always the hostess to family and friends from the city who came on weekends to swim, cook out, and share the joys of the ‘country-like’ environment of Staten Island. Her knack for feeding 12 people in a New York minute was remarkable, and she proudly continued the legacy of her family’s Italian culture and recipes with family and friends. Ann was a woman ahead of her time, going back to school at Staten Island Community College and getting her driver’s license at age 44. Ann and Tony enjoyed traveling, often to visit family in Nevada and exploring the wonders of the Southwest. They shared many cruises with their friends from Local 831 and trips to Walt Disney World with their grandchildren. Above all, Ann treasured the memories of good times, good friends, and loving family, a sentiment she kept with her until the very end. Ann was an avid reader and movie fan, greatly enjoying murder mystery novels by Agatha Christie and classic 1940s films with Humphrey Bogart. She loved to travel, and her three trips to England were her most treasured memories. Her first trip abroad was with her daughter Gina when they did a whirlwind trip to Great Britain in the early 80’s. She revisited England twice and she truly loved everything English and inspired her daughters and grandchildren to feel the same about her interest in British culture and exploring new places.
Tony passed in June 2017 after celebrating their 69 years of marriage in May in their Grasmere home. Ann’s warmth and openness toward family, friends, and strangers as well gave her the ‘never met a stranger’ attitude. She treasured her Atlanta friends, many of whom she considered ‘family’ and the feeling was mutual. Facebook was her lifeline and seeing her family and friends at play, both far and near, gave her pleasure every day. Ann loved to have a stimulating conversation and to quote her “you gotta have a laugh.”
Surviving are her daughters, Mary Ann Otten and her husband, Clarke of Atlanta; Gina Gutzeit and her husband, John of Staten Island; her brother Salvatore Tommasino and his wife Sylvia of Oregon, grandchildren, Bonnie, Gene, Anthony, Jennifer, Michael, Vanessa, and Eric, as well as five great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her son, John in 2008, and her grandson Johnny in 2014. She was also predeceased by her son-in-law Terry in 2014, with whom she had formed a special relationship with over the years.
Raise a glass of vino and salute to Ann – “La Famiglia”
Family and friends will be received on Friday, from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. at the Martin Hughes Funeral Home in Concord. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at St. Joseph’s RC Church in Rosebank. Committal Will follow at St. John’s Cemetery Middle Village.
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