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Mary Lantieri

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Mary Lantieri Obituary

Mary (Cavalieri) Lantiere, after 92 years of a wonderful life, God embraced Mary and welcomed her home on June 24, 2014. Born and raised in Hartford, she was the daughter of the late Paul and Pauline Cavalieri. Mary was the widow of the adoring Homer G. Lantieri and was preceded in death by her two beloved sons Lawrence and Mark. Mary was a trailblazer. She was the only person to graduate with a chemistry degree from St. Joseph College in 1943 during a time when few women entered that profession. She quickly advanced in her career, starting at Pratt & Whitney as a metallurgist and spectroscopist and eventually retiring after working 50 years with the Connecticut Health Department. As the supervisor of the hydrocarbon division at the Health Department, she led a team of chemists that monitored and worked to improve the environment. Her research resulted in the institution of a pesticide program in the state in 1959 by wet chemistry methods, and later by instrumentation. In 1974, she pinpointed a gas leak in the sewage system in New Britain that was endangering residents. She produced two movies during her graduate work at Southern Connecticut State University about the correlation of pesticides and genetic defects and the impact of chemicals illegally dumped into streams. She received several awards and leadership roles for her work, including the "Golden Lady" distinction from Amita in 1977 and another award from Gov. Ella Grasso for being an "Outstanding Woman in the Field of Chemistry" and "Woman of the Year" from the Connecticut Federation of Business and Professional Woman in 1979. She served as the president of BPW in 1982. She presented some of her research at an international symposium at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in 1978. Mary was a gracious lady of great warmth, kindness and compassion. Family was the most important aspect her life. Upon holding her great grandson for the first time, she proclaimed that this was "the happiest day of my life!" She retired from work so she could spend more time with her two grandchildren. She was deeply religious and put faith in Jesus and The Church to guide her through her life. She was strong in her belief that abortion was wrong and she abstained from eating meat on Fridays until abortion was abolished. She loved cooking and teaching her family her secret Sicilian recipes. She loved entertaining and spending summers at her beach home at Great Hammock Beach in Old Saybrook with her family. Mary was an avid reader and she enjoyed starting her day working on the puzzles in the morning newspapers. She is survived by two daughters, Jacqueline Mirsky and her partner Rockie J. Filaoro, of Avon, and Michelle Morris and her husband Bruce Morris, of South Windsor; two loving grandchildren, David Thomas and his wife Jacki Thomas, and Bethany Thomas and her fiancé Eric Bottaro; one great grandchild Homer Thomas; and three sisters Marguerita Rafala her husband Joseph Rafala, Lea Buchanan and her late husband James, and Francesca Cavalieri and numerous nieces and nephews. She also leaves her beloved Maltese "Dannyboy" who gave her great joy and companionship. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday, June 26 at 10 a.m. at St. Margaret Mary, 80 Hayes Rd., South Windsor. Burial will be in Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield. In lieu of flowers please send donations to the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement in memory of Mary's dear nephew Paul Buchanan. Donations can be made to 82 Cottonwood Rd., Newington, CT 06111 and will help cover peer support training for police officers. Samsel & Carmon Funeral Home 419 Buckland Rd., South Windsor has care of arrangements.

Published in The Hartford Courant on June 25, 2014
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