Anna A. (DeChristopher) Pirraglia, 92, of North Providence, passed away Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital. She was the wife of the late John J. Pirraglia and mother of the late Mary Elizabeth Pelland and John Francis Pirraglia. Born in Providence, she was the daughter of the late Filomena (Volpe) DeChristopher.
Mrs. Pirraglia worked for Day-O-Lite Manufacturing and volunteered at Women & Infants Hospital for many years.
When we were little kids, playing with Mom’s pots and pans was one of our favorite things to do. We’d drag them all out on the kitchen floor and have a great time banging them around and exploring the cabinets. That’s how she taught us what all those things were and what they were for. By the time we were old enough to dry dishes, we also knew where everything went. Pretty smart.
Mom taught us all to cook. To this day and probably forever, her chicken soup and her meatloaf are our favorite. No one makes meatballs and sauce like hers.
When we were in grammar school, Mom joined the PTA and later became the president. She organized many events and bake sales. Dad drew posters for the sales with children sliding down a piece of cake.
Mom loved to bake, a good thing because Dad had a sweet tooth. That might be how the whole baking thing started. If there wasn’t “something good” in the house, Dad would go to the bakery after dinner to get pastry. His favorites were the cakes and pies that Mom made, though, especially her apple pie. Her pie crust was the best. Her secret was working the dough just enough, and measuring the shortening with the same large tablespoon every time, a piece from her mother’s set. The whole family looked forward to getting cookies and cinnamon bread or Easter bread from her on the holidays.
We loved it when Mom made a cake because we got to lick the cake batter off the spatula and the beaters. There were four of us, so she must have dipped a spoon in the batter, too, so everyone could get in on what we thought was the best part. It seemed to take forever for the layers to bake and cool, and then we watched her frost it. She always scraped the bowl she made the frosting in and put the last little dollop on top in the middle, her signature.
Another favorite activity was doing the daily crossword and the Jumble in the newspaper. It has always been the unspoken rule that the puzzle page belonged to Mom. Watching Jeopardy was also part of the daily routine, starting back when it aired at noon. She knew the answers to the most obscure questions, especially about history.
In the late 90’s, Mom hopped on a plane and met Joan in Spain. Joan surprised her with a trip to Rome. On their first day in Rome, they visited the Vatican. Even though it was a Saturday afternoon, people were congregating for Mass. Pope John Paul II said Mass that afternoon. Mom received communion from him and left with his blessing. She was beaming.
Mom could calm a fussy baby in seconds. If she was at a gathering, and there was a baby around, she always wanted to hold the little one. More than once, mothers had to coax her a bit to hand the kid back over. Her love of children led her to a second career in volunteerism.
After retiring, Mom and Dad volunteered together for Meals on Wheels. Mom went on to volunteer for Project Link and Women and Infants Hospital, where she cared for children while their parents attended classes, worked in the neonatal clinic, and was honored for her work with women with post partem depression. Later, after privacy policies changed, she worked in the office until she retired after well over 20 years of service.
Mom, you showed us love, strength, courage, and resilience, especially in caring for Dad at home when he was ill. You only left his side to get your hair done and go to church. It was a privilege for us to care for you in your last years. Godspeed, Mom.
Our loving mom is survived by us, her three daughters, Jacqueline Lehr and her husband James, Joan Pirraglia and Ann Morrissey; her son-in-law, William Pelland; and many nieces and nephews. She was the sister of the late Alphonse DeChristopher, Stella Mercurio and Antonetta Franco.
Visitation will be held Friday Morning, June 29, 2018 from 8 – 9:15 a.m. in the MACERONI FUNERAL HOME, 1381 Smith St., North Providence, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in St. Thomas Church, 65 Fruit Hill Ave., Providence. Burial will be in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mrs. Pirraglia’s memory may be made to your favorite charity.