Itala Punaro Samulski

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  • "What a remarkable mother you had, Joe. No surprise that you..."
    - Laura Packer
  • "My heartfelt sympathy goes out to your family at this..."
  • "To all: We met Itala when Michael and Erica married. She..."
    - Dee and Rich Kirschke
  • "Dear Samulski siblings : In the late 50's, as we were..."
    - Will Arroyo
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Itala Punaro Samulski
COLUMBIA, SC - The Mass of Christian Burial for Mrs. Itala Rose Punaro Samulski, who entered into rest February 29, 2016, will be conducted Saturday morning at 11 o'clock from Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church. The Reverend Jacob Joseph, CMI, Celebrant. Final Prayers and Commendations in Westover Memorial Park.
Itala was a native of Augusta, a piano teacher, and a mother of nine. Itala was born to a musical family of Italian descent. Her father Egidio (Edward) Punaro was an accomplished harpist from
Viggiano, Italy, while her mother Maddalena (Madelene) Campiglia was the daughter of an Italian harp maker in Philadelphia. Her father and grandfather gave up life as touring musicians to settle in Augusta where they established Punaro's Meat Market at the corner of 13th and Jones.
Itala attended Mount Saint Joseph Academy and graduated from Augusta Junior College. Subsequently she studied piano with Ellmer Zoller in New York City where she made her debut in the 1930s at the Commodore Hotel (now the Grand Hyatt). She returned to Augusta where she met her husband Thaddeus (Ted) Peter Samulski, a native of Buffalo (Lancaster), NY, at a USO dance during WWII. Ted was a member of the Army Air Corps stationed at Daniel Field in Augusta before being deployed to North Africa and Italy, where he was part of the Anzio Beach assault.
Itala was the organist at multiple Catholic churches-Sacred Heart and Saint Patrick's (now Holy Trinity) in Augusta, GA, Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta, SC, and Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Jefferson City, MO. Her husband became a cost manager with Fluor Daniels, and they moved to wherever a plant was being built. Itala maintained a private piano studio wherever she lived until the age of 92-Augusta, GA; Scheuren, Germany; Muskogee, OK; Greenville, SC; Blythewood SC; Chapel Hill, NC; Roswell, GA; and Columbia, SC. She taught music and piano at Immaculate Conception Academy (an orphanage for African American children in Augusta, GA) and Murrow Indian Children's Home (a Native American school in Muskogee, OK). She also co-founded and taught a kindergarten for Irish Travellers in "Murphy Village" (named for the priest who helped establish it) in Edgefield County, SC.
Besides taking care of her own numerous family, Itala often cared for the children and grandchildren of many friends and relatives. At the end of her life, she even took care of her care-givers
(including Jeannie, Maggie, Thomasena, Viola, Alicia and Cindy) whom she treated as members of her own family. She was a mother and grandmother to all.
Itala was predeceased by her husband Thaddeus (Ted) Peter Samulski, (1990), her grandsons Kevin Hollett (1989, son of Phil and Marcia) and Mark Samulski (1992, son of Peter and Gay Madden), her brother Augustine Punaro (2003), her sister Teresa Punaro (2004), her son
Thaddeus Samulski (2009), her brother Angelo Punaro (2010), and her granddaughter Erica Samulski (2012, daughter of Thaddeus and Ricka Samulski).
Survivors include eight children, Edward T. Samulski, Ph.D., wife Carol Shumate, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, David A. Samulski, wife Jetta, Cortez, Colorado, Peter L. Samulski, M.S., wife Catherine, Flat Rock, North Carolina, Philip B. Samulski, M.F.A., wife Marcia, Kailua, Hawii, Mary M. V. Samulski-Parekh, D.M.A., husband Jyotindra, Columbia, South Carolina, Richard J. Samulski, Ph.D., Chapel Hill, North Carolina, John M. Samulski, wife Emelina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Joseph M. Samulski, J.D., wife Cynthia Hammond, Brooklyn, New York; Twenty-one grandchildren; Eighteen great-grandchildren; her sister, Clara Tantillo and her husband, Anthony, Atlanta, Georgia, and their nine children, Nina Mahal, Thomas Tantillo, Madeleine Meyerson, Antoinette Paradiso, Angela Tantillo, Teresa Tantillo, Anthony Tantillo, Mario Tantillo and Augustine Tantillo; her sister-in-law, Louise (Angelo's wife) and their five children, Jan Punaro, Joseph Punaro, James Punaro, Maria Sommerfeldt, and Edward Punaro.
Pallbearers will be Thomas Tantillo, Anthony Tantillo, Mario Tantillo, Augustine Tantillo, Joseph Walker and Michael Ritchie.
The Vigil Service for the Deceased will be conducted Friday evening at 6 o'clock in the Posey Funeral Chapel followed by visitation until 8.
Memorials may be made to the Monastery of the Poor Clare Nuns c/o Poor Clare Nuns, 37 McCauley Road, Travelers Rest, South Carolina 29690.
Posey Funeral Directors of North Augusta in charge of arrangements (803.278.1181).
Visit the registry at
Funeral Home
Posey Funeral Directors - North Augusta
1307 Georgia Avenue
North Augusta, SC 29841
(803) 278-1181
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Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star on Mar. 9, 2016