Josephine "Jo" Rotella died on Thursday, January 31, 2013, at her home in Rutland, after a brief illness, with her sister, Dea, and brother Guido at her side. She was born on September 8, 1914, in Rutland, the daughter of Mariano and Carmela (Cala) Rotella.
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It can be said when referring to Jo Rotella, that "it's who you are, not what you do." When her father died tragically in a quarry accident at a very young age, she was forced to leave school and take a job. Jo began what was to be a long and successful career in the clothing manufacturing industry in Rutland, beginning as a pieceworker in girlhood and retiring as a manager, but it had always been her dream to go to college and become a teacher. As a girl, her father once told her that education was the key to life and that he held teachers in the highest esteem; she never forgot his words to her. Jo may not have gone on to become an esteemed professor at a university or a world-renowned sports psychologist, like a few of her nephews, but she continued to learn and teach until the day she died.
She was well-versed in politics, sports and gardening, was a history buff and an opera enthusiast, and could always be found with at least one book in her hand. Jo loved playing the game of golf, especially with her favorite foursome consisting of her sister, Dea, sister-in-law Claire, and dear friend Frannie - a sport she kept playing until as recently as this past summer. Jo could praise the intelligence and forethought of Abraham Lincoln, while equally carrying on a spirited debate about her beloved Boston Red Sox.
She was ahead of her time as a strong, independent woman and as the eldest daughter of a charter member of the founding fathers, was an honorary member of the Sicilian-American Society. Jo Rotella was a lifelong member of St. Peter's Church and belonged to the Rutland Historical Society, the Sunshine Club and the Rutland Country Club.
She took pleasure in a warm circle of friends and in the lives of her large and ever expanding family. It was with her family that Jo's deepest interest resided. She chronicled, encouraged and embraced each one of their lives, providing advice, offering solace and imparting knowledge; she was their anchor, she is their heart.
Jo Rotella is survived by her sister and lifelong companion, Dea Rotella, her brother, Guido Rotella, both of Rutland; her sister, Sylvia (Rotella) Manez, of Massapequa, New York; and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. She was predeceased by her sisters, Irene (Rotella) Ryan, Edith (Rotella) Carrigan and Nancy (Rotella) Lemmo, and by her brother, Roy Rotella.
A special thanks goes to Jo's caregivers who made her feel like a character out of "Downton Abbey."
Funeral arrangements are by Clifford Funeral Home in Rutland. Calling hours will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, February 8, 2013. The funeral will be at St. Peter's Church at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 9, 2013. Burial will be at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Josephine Rotella's name may be made to Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, 7 Albert Cree Drive, Rutland, VT 05701; Mount St. Joseph Academy Rotella Scholarship Fund, 127 Convent Ave., Rutland, VT 05701; Sicilian-American Society Scholarship Fund, PO Box 6494, Rutland, VT 05702-6494.
Published in Rutland Herald from Feb. 2 to Feb. 6, 2013