Gloria Kathryn Zirpolo Raffetto
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Gloria Kathryn Zirpolo Raffetto, of Sea Girt, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, after a long and courageous battle with ovarian cancer and related complications, surrounded by her loving family and loyal caregivers. During the eight years that she endured her illness, Gloria was an inspiration to many for her attitude and perseverance. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Dr. Alexander E. (M.D.) and Mrs. Kathryn (Buckley) Zirpolo, Gloria was a graduate of the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn Heights and Barnard College. During college, she majored in art history and enjoyed working as a fashion illustrator at Conde Nast. After graduation, Gloria worked as a primary school teacher at her alma mater, the Packer Collegiate Institute.
During her youth, Gloria enjoyed spending summers with her family in Maine and then eventually at the Jersey shore, where her family bought a small farm in Wall Township as a second home. There, she met her husband, the late Frederick M. ("Fred") Raffetto, Esq., of Manasquan. They were married in 1949, with a ceremony held at St. Catharine's Roman Catholic Church in Spring Lake and a reception at the Manasquan River Golf Club in Brielle. They began their life together residing in the Sea Girt Estates section of Wall Township. After starting their family, Gloria and Fred built their dream home in Sea Girt, where Gloria resided from 1962 until her death.
Following her husband's sudden passing of a heart attack in 1983, Gloria embarked upon a second career as a realtor and continued successfully in this career for over twenty-five years. She worked with the Diane Turton Real Estate Company in Sea Girt for many of those years and was well known in the local real estate community. Her artist's eye and naturally outgoing personality suited her well for this profession. Before retiring from real estate, she and her daughter, Patricia Raffetto, who is also a realtor with the same company, worked together as a team.
Gloria was a longtime member of the Manasquan River Golf Club, where she enjoyed playing golf with the ladies' nine-holer group. She was also a long-time member of the Sea Girt Women's Club, the Sea Girt Holly Club, the Sea Girt Great Books Club and the Sea Girt Lighthouse Citizen's Committee, and was a former member of the Manasquan River Yacht Club. She was a communicant of St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Sea Girt.
In addition to golf, Gloria loved to travel and enjoyed several memorable trips to Europe with her children. She also enjoyed watercolor painting, sketching, tennis, literature (particularly Shakespeare), reading the New York Times, attending Broadway shows, riding her bicycle or walking on the Sea Girt boardwalk, spending time on the beach, playing with the family's golden retriever, and always finding the most beautifully colorful and coordinated clothing to accentuate her lovely appearance. Her favorite passion, however, was spending time with her children and grandchildren, who will miss her vibrant personality, her intellect, her artistic flair, her dignity and elegance, and her courage and resilience more than words can ever express.
Gloria was predeceased by her parents, Dr. Alexander E. (M.D.) and Mrs. Kathryn (Buckley) Zirpolo, her brother and only sibling, Alexander Thomas Zirpolo, and her beloved husband, Frederick M. Raffetto, Esq. She is survived by her loving children, Patricia K. Raffetto of Sea Girt, Frederick C. Raffetto, Esq. of Spring Lake Heights, and Richard A. Raffetto and his wife, Ariane of Bay Head, and her loving grandchildren, Sophia, Gabriella and Alexandra Raffetto of Bay Head, along with the family golden retriever, "Buckley."
Family and friends are invited to gather from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 at the O'Brien Funeral Home, 2028 Highway 35 at New Bedford Road, Wall. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church, 215 Crescent Parkway, Sea Girt. Entombment will follow at St. Catharine's Cemetery in Wall. In lieu of flowers, donations in Gloria's honor may be made to the Packer Collegiate Institute, 170 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, NY 11201, or to Gilda's Club New York City, 195 West Houston St., New York, NY 10014 (a community organization for people living with cancer, their families and friends, named in tribute to comedic actress Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989). For more information or to post a tribute, please visit www.obrienfuneralhome.com.
O'Brien Funeral Home
2028 Highway 35 at New Bedford Road
Wall, NJ 07719
Published in Asbury Park Press from Dec. 7 to Dec. 9, 2013