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Samuel Charles Cilla


1929 - 2020
Samuel Charles Cilla Obituary

Samuel Charles Cilla passed away Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, peacefully at the age of 91, surrounded by his loving family.

He was born March 29, 1929, in Manville, N.J., to the late Samuel and Ethel Richter Cilla. His father immigrated from Spain and his mother from Hungry.

In 1948, Sam graduated from Manville High School and later enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He was sent to boot camp at the Great Lakes and was assigned to the USS Missouri. Shortly after, he was assigned to the newly commissioned cruiser, the USS Newport News, Newport News, Va. The Newport News served as the flag ship for the 6th fleet. He made six trips across the Mediterranean Sea, stopping in ports in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece.

In 1952 he was honorably discharged from the Navy. He met his first wife, Bernice Milani, who passed away in 1982. They were married Aug. 8, 1953, and they had two daughters, Mary Lee and Donna. Sam graduated from RCA Institutes Inc. in 1955, and then worked for RCA in Somerville, N.J.

In 1960, Sam was transferred with RCA to the Mountain Top plant. A fan of baseball, he played second base for the RCA softball team and umpired in the Mountain Top Little League.

Sam was an avid New York Yankees and New York Giants fan. He was so fortunate to have been to the Polo Grounds, the original Yankee Stadium and recently to the "new" Yankee Stadium with his grandson, Jeremy, who shares his love of the Yankees with his grandfather.

He was an "expert" bartender, having worked with his parents in their businesses in New Jersey. Sam was famous for his Manhattans, which was his "signature" drink. Anyone he entertained had the drink of their choice.

In 1987, Sam married Genny Tondrick. In 1990, they moved to Orlando, Fla. They spent their "golden years" there entertaining family and friends. They traveled to England and then to Spain where Sam reunited with cousins, aunts and uncles.

Sam and Genny moved back to the Wilkes-Barre area in 2013. Within the past few years, they became great-grandparents to four beautiful great-granddaughters.

In addition to his parents and his wife, Bernice, Sam was preceded in death by his grandson, Justin Samuel Charles Crop, who shares his name.

Sam is survived by his wife of 33 years, Genny; daughters, Mary Lee Conway and her husband, Frank; Donna Sawka and her husband, Tom; grandchildren, Jamie Crop and her fiancé, Michael; Jeremy Crop and his fiancée, Nikki; Kelly Terway and Thomas Sawka; great-grandchildren, Autumn Harrison-Crop; Adalee Crop, who he called "blue eyes"; and Emily and Madeline Terway; sisters, Ethel Weeks and her husband, Robert and Mary Uhran; brother, Richard and his wife, Marci; and several loving nieces and nephews.

The family would like to thank the very special nurses, aides, doctors, staff and administration of Birchwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Nanticoke, where Sam had lived for the past two years, for their excellent and loving care.

Thank you to the Rev. James Nash of St. Faustina's Parish, Nanticoke, for his prayers and support for our father and our family.

We are also grateful to the Hospice of the Sacred Heart for their compassionate care and support.

Arrangements are being provided by George Strish Funeral Home, Ashley.

Private services will be held at the convenience of the family.


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