Mrs. Rose Marie Lavitola passed away peacefully on December 1, 2023 at Northbrooke Healthcare in Jackson, TN. Rose was born July 4, 1925 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where her parents had emigrated for work. Rose returned to Italy at 10 months old and was raised in the villages of Picerno and Campania outside of Naples. Rose was a communicant of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Jackson, TN.
Rose survived the Nazi occupation and subsequent American liberation of Italy during WWII. She told us many stories of her experiences during the war which are hard to imagine. In 1949 Rose emigrated to America arriving at Ellis Island on July 4, 1949, her 24th birthday where she joined her mother and brother in Elizabeth, NJ and immediately went to work sewing in a factory and started taking night classes to learn English. She also worked towards attaining her American citizenship at that time.
It was in Elizabeth that she met her first husband, Angelo Strazzella. They wed in September 1951 and remained married until his death in 1987. Rose married her second husband PJ Lavitola in 1988 and remained married to him until his death in 2001. In 2002, Rose moved to Jackson, TN to be near her son Larry and family.
Rose was a remarkable woman who was deeply devoted to her Catholic faith and to her family. She was a fearless, strong, and bold person who loved taking care of her family, loved cooking and music, finally able to take the piano lessons she always coveted at age 50. She enjoyed playing the piano everyday until her health began to fail in her 90’s. Rose was an excellent seamstress and made a lot of her own clothes. She was a lifetime learner continuing to study English and wrote a journal of her life as an assignment for one of her classes. She was always curious and thirsty for knowledge and loved to read. She could be very funny and had a tremendous sense of humor!
Rose was preceded in death by her husbands Angelo Strazzella and PJ Lavitola and by her mother Assunta Renna and father Gerardo Renna, and brothers Frank Renna, Nick Renna and sisters Angelina Cappuccio and Maria Renna.
Rose is survived by her son Larry Strazzella (Mona) of Lebanon, TN, daughter Jana Strazzella of South River, NJ, brother Tony Renna of Toms River, NJ, grandchildren Nicole (Mike) Ceccotti of Nashville, TN, and Chris Strazzella of Lebanon, TN. She is also survived by her 3 great grandchildren, Dante Louis “Tripp” Ceccotti, Tucker Lawrence Ceccotti, and Clarke Rose Ceccotti all of Nashville, and many beloved nieces and nephews.
A mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for Thursday, December 7, at St. Mary’s Church, 1665 Hwy 45 Bypass, Jackson, TN 38305 at 11:00 am following visitation from 9:30 to 10:30. The Rosary will be prayed at 10:30. Internment will occur at Rosedale Cemetery in Linden, NJ TBA.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made to the Heartwarmers Group at St. Mary’s or to your favorite charity.