Maria (Cirignano) Volpe, age 103, wife of the late Leonardo Volpe, died on January 17, 2020. She was born on March 12, 1916 in Savignano, Italy. She has been a resident of Needham for the past 63 years.
She was the 4th of 5 children. Her mother died when she was young and her father remarried and had 4 more children. They were subsistence farmers and struggled to feed a family of 9. As was the custom during this time, children were parceled out to nearby families who could care for them and teach them a trade. Maria went to reside with a local merchant at the age of 12, originally as their nanny, but because she was good with numbers and could barter a good price, she worked in the general store instead. As she grew in the trade, she was able to do bookkeeping and manage the store after her employer was elected as the town mayor.
Maria was married at the age of 26 and later had 2 sons. They were struggling subsistence farmers following WWII. Not able to make ends meet, they emigrated to the United States for a better life. Her husband came in 1954, found work and housing, and Maria arrived in 1956 and soon after, welcomed a third son.
She is predeceased by her husband, Leonardo and survived by 3 sons; Michael Volpe and his wife Natalina, Mario Volpe and his lifelong partner Brenda Casteel, and Anthony Volpe and his wife Joyce. 7 grandchildren; Michael Volpe and his wife Kristina, Brian Volpe, Marc Volpe and his wife Rory, Marianne Volpe Casano and her husband Frank, Cristina Volpe, Lorella Volpe, and Anna Volpe, 8 great-grandchildren, a sister; Anna Labriola, of Savignano, Italy, as well as many nieces and nephews in the United States and Italy.
She was largely a homemaker but also worked in the cottage industry assembling specialty brushes, brooms, Christmas wreaths and bouquets.
She was a deeply faithful woman, who attended Mass daily as her health allowed, then watched the daily Mass and Rosary on TV. She enjoyed gardening, knitting, and especially enjoyed cooking large meals surrounded by family. Her greatest joy was watching her grandchildren and great grandchildren grow.
Visiting hours will be held in the Eaton Funeral Home, 1351 Highland Ave, Needham, on Friday, January 24th from 4-7 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Joseph Church 1360 Highland Ave, Needham, on Saturday at 10:00 am. Interment will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Needham. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.
To send flowers to Maria's family, please visit our floral section.