CONCORD - Mom, Josephine "Jo" Mary Viscuso Freo, joined Dad on Dec. 20, 2012, in the most peaceful manner possible, surrounded by her loving children. At 90 years young, Mom passed on as she lived - with dignity and grace - deciding how she wanted things, right until the end.
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Mom was born and raised in East Hampton, Long Island, with her sister, Frances, and brothers, Thomas and Philip, by her parents, the late Vincent and Jenny (DeCarlo) Viscuso. Mom graduated from East Hampton High School in 1941. In later years, our family would visit Long Island for family gatherings near the ocean.
As a young adult, Mom and siblings moved to Pittsfield, Mass., where she raised her younger siblings after her parents' deaths. She worked at General Electric for 12 years, pre- and post-World War II.
Through her love of dancing, she met and married Richard Freo, and eventually settled in his hometown of Concord in 1953. Their love for dancing never faded in 48 years of marriage!
Within a few years of settling in Concord, Philip, June and Jo-Ann were born within an 11-month period. Mom emphasized family as the center of her world. Guided by her strong Catholic faith, Mom was an extraordinarily dedicated wife and mother, leading the family through life's twists and turns. She and Dad raised us with love, discipline, and humor.
Mom worked tirelessly preparing great family meals, sewing "twinsie" outfits, and ensuring enjoyable times among family and friends (e.g. trips to Lake Massasecum, Hampton Beach, and Pittsfield reunions). She became deeply involved in her church (St. John the Evangelist), her children's schools (St. John Regional and Bishop Brady), and other charitable services. Mom also loved working at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, retiring after 15 years of service. In addition, she was "social director" extraordinaire. She often took the lead with Dad's family, organizing gatherings during the lifetimes of several members who passed in their 90s-100s.
Mom handed down to us her favorite recipes (tomato sauce, coffee cake, and lasagna), her style and eye for color, her belief in accessories (shoes, jewelry, etc.) and her wonderful smile. She showed us her creative interests through baking and decorating wedding cakes, creating flower arrangements and being an avid reader.
Mom adored her grandchildren as a grandmother to June and George's children (Allison and Emily), Philip and Lisa's children (Philip and Devin) and Jo-Ann and Steve's children (Brian and Carly).
As Dad aged, Mom became his primary caregiver; during his last years, she showed us again how faith and family come together.
During the last 27 months, as Mom's health declined, God blessed us with the opportunity to take care of her. June, George, and children lovingly cared for Mom in their home with the support of Jo-Ann and Steve and family. We enjoyed many wonderful times attending church, viewing old photos, attending the theater, shopping, and going to the farmers market and local restaurants.
Through God's guidance, we sought the support of the CRVNA and the Hospice House during her final days. We thank all the staff, with special recognition of our private duty nursing staff who provided enriching personalized care to keep Mom's journey as peaceful as possible.
Many will remember Jo as a loving and compassionate woman. We will remember her as Mom.
SERVICES: Visiting hours will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at the Waters Funeral Home, 50 South Main Street, Concord.
Funeral services will follow at 11:30 a.m. in the chapel of the Waters Funeral Home.
Burial will be in the Calvary Cemetery, Concord.
Arrangements are by Waters Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, donations to St. John Regional School or Bishop Brady High School are appreciated.
Waters Funeral Home - Concord
50 S. Main St.
Concord, NH 03302-0670
Published in Union Leader on Dec. 23, 2012