Josephine Zaccaria of Lords Valley, Pa., dies at age 86


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Josephine Zaccaria of Lords Valley, Pa. (“Jo,” as she was known by her friends), died peacefully on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017, after a brief hospital stay. She was 86.

She was the first child of Agnes Mariconda and Joseph Spinelli, born Jan. 4, 1931, in the Bronx where she graduated from Evander Childs High School in 1948.

Jo married Sebastian Vito Abate in 1952, after being heavily pursued by him while they worked at the same insurance company. They had four children together, Joseph (deceased 1991), Frances, Angie and Vito and lived in Flushing, N.Y.

After 13 years of marriage, Jo became a widow and single mother in the 1960s. She attended classes, got her insurance broker’s license and took over her husband’s insurance business in Jamaica, N.Y. The business flourished; she later sold it and continued working there.

In 1972, she “went from A to Z” and wed Anthony Zaccaria, a widower also from Flushing. Josephine remained in the insurance business where she formed many lasting friendships. She was an active member of the Insurance Women’s Association of Queens County serving as its president from 1979 to 1981. In a business dominated by men, she became the first woman president of the Independent Insurance Agents Association of Kings and Queens County in 1987. She received several commendations over the years including one for her “dedicated and unselfish service” as president.

Jo was also very active in the Mary’s Nativity church choir in Flushing where she sang for many years. A theater lover, she was a longtime subscriber to the Roundabout Theatre Company inNew York City. She lived in Bayside for several years and then soon after retiring she relocated to Hemlock Farms in Lords Valley, Pa., to be close to her beloved grandchildren.

Jo quickly became active in the choir of St. John Neumann Parish, where she sang regularly and participated in several of their special performances while making many cherished friends. She was also a regular lector in recent years.

She is survived by her children, Frances Martone (Larry), Angie Wagner (Danny) and Vito Abate (Ron); grandchildren, Emily and David Martone; and sisters, A.G. McDermott and Rae Rella (Carlo).

She was predeceased by her brother, Paul Spinelli (Felicia).

She was an aunt, godmother, great aunt and great, great aunt to several nieces and nephews.

Jo enjoyed reading, Frank Sinatra, many PBS series and Criminal Minds. She loved feeding her hummingbird visitors and enjoyed cooking, baking and sharing her creations with others. She had a way with indoor plants and enjoyed gardening, though not weeding, in the summer. She also loved dressing nicely, buying shoes, telling stories, and always having a good laugh or a good dinner (or both) with good friends.

She will be loved and remembered by many people whose lives she touched and influenced.

Friends may call at Stroyan Funeral Home, 405 W. Harford St., Milford, Pa., on Thursday, Dec. 14, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, at the Saint John Neumann Church, 705 PA-739, Hawley, Pa., with The Rev. Thomas Major officiating.



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