Josephine Portantiere

Josephine Portantiere

AGE: 84 • Ocean Grove

Josephine Portantiere, 84, died Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Francis Asbury Manor, the assisted living facility in Ocean Grove where she lived since 2012. The former Josephine DeRago was born and raised in Greenwich Village in Manhattan, where she met her future husband, Michael N. Portantiere. They were married in 1955 and moved to Staten Island in 1960, where they raised their four children.

Primarily a homemaker, Mrs. Portantiere also worked as a bookkeeper for the Staten Island Register for several years in the 1970s and 1980s. She lived in the same house in Oakwood for nearly 50 years. During her later years on Staten Island, she was an active member of the New Dorp Beach Friendship Club. She loved to cook, crochet, play bingo, watch the Game Show Network and con her children into taking her out for pizza.

In February 2012, Mrs. Portantiere was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Her family is extremely grateful to the residents and staff at Francis Asbury Manor for filling the last 15 months of her life with caring, compassion, friendship and faith.

"This is not an objective thing to say, but she was the sweetest mother in the world," her children said. "And the courage and dignity she showed during her illness was truly inspiring."

Mrs. Portantiere's husband of 39 years, Michael, died in 1994. She is survived by her son, Michael A. Portantiere; her son and daughter-in-law, Nicholas and Carrole Portantiere; her daughter and son-in-law, Diane and Frank Oades; her daughter, Rosemary Portantiere; twin granddaughters, Christina and Nicole Portantiere; three step-granddaughters, Raquel, Renee and Ryann Oades; and four grandcats and one granddog.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 5 at Colonial Funeral Home on Staten Island. A service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 6 at the funeral home, with burial to follow at Moravian Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Francis Asbury Manor in Ocean Grove or Embracing Hospice Care of Wall, NJ.

Published in Asbury Park Press on Apr. 4, 2013