Mrs. Maria Carmela ViolanteJuly 16, 1923 ~ July 8, 2017 (age 93)
In 1923, during the depression, Maria Carmela DiSimone- Violante was born in Villa Tofo, Italy, the first of 6 siblings. She grew up in a very poor family with an alcoholic father who barely made a living from a small vineyard. Being the oldest she was handed the responsibilities in regards to the care of her brothers and sisters. The home had 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, no running water, no heat, and not even a bathroom.
My mom would tell me stories of how much she loved going to school that she would get up very early to finish her chores before running off to school. She did not have any pencils or paper, yet she was able to succeed by just using her memory. In the 3rd grade she could no longer attend school due the hardships within her family.
She became the advocate in her family and would stand between her abusive father and her family. When a situation occurred in the village she was the one everybody called for help, especially for health issues. Her dream was to become a nurse. She became the Doctor’s assistant (when he was able to come) as he went from house to house during visitation, but it was Maria who took care of them daily, walking to the pharmacy for medication while explaining the ‘how, what, and when’.
During WW2 mama had the courage to hide English soldiers from the Germans and after the war received a plaque for her commendation of bravery.
Maria and Donato were married in 1946 and moved to his farm in Cermigniano, where Eva and I were born. My mom’s 2nd child, Giovanni, died during childbirth due to complications and unable to get to a doctor or hospital. My mom never got over this tragedy.
In the early 1950’s my father’s oldest brother, Antonio, and his father came to the USA to work on the railroad to make money to send back to the family, because at that time there were no jobs or money.
Due to Antonio’s request in 1960 Maria and her family immigrated to America, and settled in DeFuniak Springs, Florida to work at Mom & Dad’s Restaurant with Donato’s brother, Giuseppe.
In 1964 our family moved from Tallahassee to Apopka and opened Roma Ristorante Italiano. Maria went to school to learn English, got a Driver’s License, and loved working in the kitchen. She was called “mama” by her customers; a special bond was created where all of her customers became an extended family.
Maria was a tiny, strong woman, and large in spirit; she did not give up easily. She has such a passion for many things. She loved doing the Macarena, exercising in the aquatic pool, speed walking, and inviting people to her house for espresso and food.
July 08, 2017 God called her home. I know she is at peace and ready to embrace her new life with pure love and joy, that only his son, Jesus, can give to each of us. We will see you soon.
With our love,
Eva and Joanna
In lieu of flowers the family asks donations be made to:Vitas Hospice Care 2201 Lucerne Way, #100 Maitland, Florida 32751