-->Devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, GRACE TESTA MANDOLA, passed away on Friday, the 19th of March, 2010. Even up until her last days she was working in the kitchen. Loving, fun-loving and a vivacious personality, anyone who ever met her never forgot her. She was an advisor and a confidant to many.She was born in Alexandria, Louisiana to immigrant parents Giuseppe and Rosa Testa, from Cefalu, Sicily. After moving to Houston, she married Anthony "Tony" Mandola. At the time of Tony's death they had been married for 58 years. Mama was a woman of honor, dignity, and magnanimity. She carried herself with respect, and respected all people. She was the center of her family's universe. But most of all, she was a woman of deep faith, with a great devotion to the Blessed Mother. Every morning started with an hour of prayer.She attended every major event of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was their biggest fan and they were her stars. Mama had a love and natural talent for cooking. She always credited her mother for this gift. For most of her life she made bread every Saturday for her legendary three-hour Sicilian Sunday lunches. It was around her table that we learned the true meaning and value of family.She is survived by her five children and their spouses, whom she also considered her children; Margaret Ann and Rocco Vallone, Rosie and Johnny Carrabba, Vincent and Mary (Provenzano) Mandola, Tony and Phyllis (Laurenzo) Mandola and Damian and Trina (Compean) Mandola. Surviving grandchildren are Roxanne Vallone, Mary Grace (Vallone) and husband Jeff Thomas, Johnny Carrabba III, Mary Louise (Carrabba) and husband Martin Cruse, Vinceanne (Mandola) and husband Jeff Green, Mary Dana (Mandola) and husband Peter Corbett, Tommy Mandola, Sophia Mandola, Gabriella Mandola, Marissa (Mandola) and husband Clayton Hromadka, Damian Mandola, Jr., Dominic Mandola, Nino Mandola and Ava Grace Mandola. Surviving great-grandchildren are Rocco, Sabrina, Anthony, Dominic and Vincent Thomas; Johnny IV and Mia Rose Carrabba; Toni Louise Cruse; Vincent, Antonino and Gianni Green; Micaela, Julia and Peter Joseph Corbett; and Isabella Grace Hromadka. She is also survived by her longtime friend and sister-in-law Frances Mandola Corona, and her surrogate children, Jack Laurenzo, and Elizabeth and Richard Galvan. Special friends to Grace include Susan Ray, Mary de la Garza and Mary Raia, and a legion of nieces and nephews.Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from three o'clock this afternoon until seven o'clock this evening, Sunday, the 21st of March, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston, where the Recitation of the Holy Rosary, to be led by Father Donald Nesti, is to commence at six o'clock.A Mass of Christian Burial is to be conducted at ten o'clock in the morning on Monday, the 22nd of March, at St. Michael Catholic Church, 1801 Sage Road in Houston, where the Rev. Msgr. Frank H. Rossi, S.T.L. will serve as celebrant.Honored to serve as pallbearers are her ten grandsons. Serving as honorary pallbearers are Ciro Lampasas, John Storenski, Paul Mangiamelli, Vincent Lampasas, Sam Lampasas, Pat Anglin, Anthony "Tony" Mandola, Armando Gomez, Manuel de la Mora.The Rite of Committal will follow, via an escorted cortege, in the Garden of Gethsemane at Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston.In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in the name of Grace Testa Mandola be directed to the San Jose Clinic, 301 Hamilton Street, Houston, TX, 77002-2335; or to the St. Michael Catholic Church Building Fund, 1801 Sage Road, Houston, TX, 77056. -->
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Published by Houston Chronicle on Mar. 21, 2010.