IAFOLLA Gilia Iafolla, age 92, of Columbus, Ohio, passed away peacefully on December 30, 2012. Born Gilia Maria Domenica Santilli on September 24, 1920, in Introdacqua, Italy, she immigrated to the United States in 1928, first settling in western Pennsylvania, moving to Columbus in the early 1930s. Despite never having a formal music lesson, she was an accomplished pianist, singer and composer. As one of the founding members of St. Andrew Parish, Gilia formed its renowned choir and directed it for decades. She was also the parish organist and initiated the Women's Club. In the mid-1970's, she wrote and directed several parish musical revues, known for their professional-quality production, set decoration, singing and dancing. Gilia remained active at St. Andrew, serving as wedding coordinator until September 2012. She was very involved in numerous philanthropic activities throughout the diocese of Columbus, and helped fund-raise for the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in its early days. Many Upper Arlington residents came to know Gilia at her Firm N Tone day spa where she always greeted clients with a warm welcome. Known for her fierce patriotism, she was a frequent speaker at elementary schools. As someone who lived under Mussolini's Fascism, she knew how precious and fragile freedom is. Gilia is preceded in death by her husband Frank, and mother Adelina Ventresca Santilli Fala, nephew Stephen Colatruglio and brother-in-law Geno Colatruglio. Many special friends are also welcoming her to heaven. She is survived by her children, Frank (Kathy) Iafolla, Gilia (Michael) Rethman and Marc Iafolla; her loving sister, Lena Colatruglio; grandchildren, Natalie Iafolla, Frank (Jen) Iafolla and Kristopher Weiss (Maureen Murphy); great-grandson, Rocco Iafolla; and many nieces and nephews. But she is not just survived by her relatives - all who knew her were touched by her non-judgmental kindness, and love. She will live forever in all our hearts. Friends may call Sunday, January 6, 2013, from 3-8 p.m. at the JOHN QUINT TREBONI FUNERAL HOME, 1177 W. Fifth Avenue. Funeral Mass 10:30 a.m. Monday, January 7, 2013, at St. Andrew Parish, 1899 McCoy Road. Burial St. Joseph Cemetery, 6440 S. High Street, Lockbourne, OH. Condolences may be sent via www.johnquint.com.
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Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, 2013
JOHN QUINT TREBONI FUNERAL HOME
1177 West 5th Avenue Columbus, OH 43212