Palma Christina Martorano, 88, passed away on Nov. 22 at Hanson Hospice Center in Stevensville.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 220 Church St., with Father John Fleckenstein officiating. Burial will follow in Calvary Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family prior to the Mass from 9 to 10 a.m. at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Road, St. Joseph, followed by processing to the church. Per the families requests, masks will be required at the visitation and the church service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church, Shriners Hospital for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607 or Caring Circle of Lakeland, 4025 Health Park Lane, St. Joseph, MI 49085. Those wishing to leave an online condolence may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com.
Palma was born on May 10, 1933 in Benton Harbor to Phillip and Mary Marsala.
She graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1951. Palma owned and operated Martorano's Pizza in the Southwest Michigan area for over 50 years. Her final restaurant location was in St. Joseph, called, "MaMa Martorano's." MaMa always welcomed everyone with her beautiful smile and a warm embrace.
Patrons frequently asked, "What ingredients are in your amazing pasta sauce?"
Palma would reply with a wink, "It's a secret!"
She enjoyed hosting large gatherings with friends and family in her home. At these celebrations, there was an abundance of food, homemade wine, Italian cookies, music, singing and laughter.
Palma's favorite hobbies included her passion for cooking, reading and discussing politics. Her favorite board games were Trivial Pursuit and Bingo. Palma enjoyed taking road trips and exploring new places. She took frequent trips to Chicago to meet up with her sister and family on the Magnificent Mile for shopping during the day. In the evenings, they would go out for a nice dinner and attend Lyric Opera of Chicago to watch her son, Joseph, perform.
Palma's faith in God was an important part of her life. She took her children and grandchildren to worship for Sunday mass regularly. Palma taught her family numerous religious and Italian traditions that will be passed down for generations to come. Above all, Palma loved her children, grandchildren, family and friends. She cherished every moment with the people she loved.
Palma is survived by her children: Marianne Martorano of St. Joseph, Joseph (Margaret) Martorano of Western Springs, Ill., Christine (Keith) Kolberg of St. Joseph, and Phillip (Donna) Martorano of Ingleside, Ill.; grandchildren: Alexandra (Anthony) Udell, Michael Martorano, Matthew Martorano, and Anna Martorano; sisters-in-law, Roselyn (Joseph) Sax and Sharon Martorano; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents; grandson, Joseph Patrick "Jo-Jo" Martorano; sister and brother-in-law, Marie and Carlo Randazzo; half-brothers: Joe, Paul, and Tom Marsala; half-sister, Rose Nudo; former husband, Jack Martorano; brothers and sisters-in-law: Mary and Frank Barry, Pete and Imogene Martorano, Leo and Mitzi Martorano, and Fred Martorano; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The family would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Donald Wolfram, Royalton Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation staff, Spectrum Health Lakeland ER and ICU staff, Hanson Hospice Center staff, Julie Pillow and Julie Bates.