We are sad to announce that the matriarch of the Vangeli Family, Maria Potenza Vangeli, has passed away. The beloved mother of four, grandmother of eight, and great grandmother of twelve passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 6th, 2022. She is survived by a large and loving family, whose lives were truly enriched by the time she spent with them.
Our beloved bisnonna, as an immigrant who came from very humble beginnings, departed this world having cultivated dear friendships with people in many states, and countries. All who met her could easily see that she is a woman of conviction, of heart, and a capacity for persuasion that was made no less effective by the complete transparency of her motivation. A passion for family and friends. She was fearless, and while having a love of family, she had a heart for complete strangers as well.
Given her beliefs, sense of loyalty and perseverance, if born into a different time and place that accepted such women beyond a stay-at-home mom, anyone who really knew her suspects she could have thrived in many different careers.
Maria Potenza found great joy in fussing over her family and friends. Nothing gave her more joy than feeding large contingents of loved ones. And of course, being a superlative cook, her family and friends were happy to oblige.
She took particular pride in serving as a mother and grandmother, and eventually extended her time and energy to others that lost theirs too soon. As the oldest child in her family who lived until the age of 94, she bore the unfortunate burden of burying her younger siblings. But with each one that passed, she insisted on being there to the fullest extent possible to the extended family that just lost their loved one, deepening the indispensability of her presence which was already substantial to begin with. We will miss many things, particularly her ability to connect us with the world she was from, and which we wouldn’t get to experience without her. She could always be counted on to tell us about the people in her past that are no longer with us, to such an extent that by the time she was done describing someone, you would swear you had met them yourself.
Nanna seemed to have limitless love to give, all delivered with a brand that is from a time and place that these days can only be found in books. In short, she represents the distilled embodiment of what it means to be a Calabrian mother, both with regards to the affection you’d receive and the uniquely Italian brand of discipline you eventually came to expect.
For these reasons and many others, we’ll miss her very much. She now rests in peace, reunited with her childhood sweetheart, with her husband to whom she was married to for 64 years.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in memory of Maria Potenza Vangeli at: covenanthousediy.org or nurturethenext.org