Rose Trifiletti was a smitten teenager from the moment she met Joseph Mondile at a church dance more than 75 years ago. He had an extensive record collection, he boasted.
They danced the night away. When he later showed her his collection, there were only a few records. She loved him nonetheless, and their marriage in 1946 flourished until Mr. Mondile died 12 years ago.
On Friday, May 12, Mrs. Mondile, 93, of Glassboro, died at home under the care of Samaritan Hospice in Marlton. In recent years, her health had started to fail and her memories faded with dementia.
An immigrant from Sicily, Mrs. Mondile came to the United States when she was 2 after her father joined the American military to obtain citizenship for the family. They moved into an immigrant neighborhood in Glassboro where Mrs. Mondile remained through life, living across the street from her parents, Mrs. Mondile’s daughter, Maria, said.
She was known in the community as a loving mother and wife, faithful and active parishioner of St. Bridget's Roman Catholic Church, and an employee of the Glassboro School District, where she retired in 1985 after working about 25 years as a cook. Mrs. Mondile also volunteered at the local food bank, and as a Democratic poll worker during elections.
“They were always happy with what they had,” Maria Mondile said, noting that her parents were children of the Great Depression and wanted their daughter and son, Joseph, to have more than they did. “They were affectionate, they were a team, and they made sure my brother and I went to college.”
As a cook for the school district, Mrs. Mondile often used her money to buy nice clothes for her children, Mondile said.
“She loved the people she worked with and she loved the kids,” Mondile said. “She also liked the independence of having that little paycheck.”
She maintained habits created during the Depression, saving tinfoil, wasting nothing, and living a “frugal” life, her daughter said.
Mrs. Mondile loved music and was known to break out into tap dancing while doing dishes. She loyally watched The Lawrence Welk Show. Her daughter recalled a day when her mother began tapping her foot to “Bad Romance.” She asked her mother if she knew that song, and who sang it. Her mother immediately responded: “That’s Lady Gaga. I love her music, but I hate the way she dresses.”
Her childhood friend Grace Mastreni said Mrs. Mondile made the best biscotti.
“She was a funny girl,” Mastreni said. “She had a great sense of humor.”
The family had traditional Italian meals Sunday afternoons, usually at 2 p.m. If an Eagles game was on television, dinner was scheduled for halftime. She loved cooking, preparing Sicilian specialties, and her famous chocolate chip cookies.
Mrs. Mondile was a member of the St. Bridget’s Altar and Rosary Society, and attended Mass daily. She also belonged to the Ladies Auxiliary of the St. Anthony's Beneficial Society, serving as president and secretary of the social club for many years.
Besides her daughter and son, Mrs. Mondile is survived by two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a sister.
A viewing is scheduled for Friday, May 19, at 9:30 a.m. at St. Bridget's University Roman Catholic Church, 125 Church St., Glassboro. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. Interment will be at St. Bridget's Cemetery.
Contributions in memory of Mrs. Mondile may be made to Samaritan Hospice, 5 Eves Dr., Suite 300, Marlton, N.J., 08053. Condolences may be posted online at McGuinness Funeral Home, mcgfuneral.com.