portrait picture for Carmella M. Unker

Wake: Friends may call on Friday, from 5:00-8:00 PM at Collins Funeral Home, Norwalk. Services: A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 10:00 AM in Sacred Heart Church, Stamford. Burial: Burial will follow in St. Francis of Assisi Cemetery, Mt. Kisco, NY.

Carmella M. Unker


August 9, 1917 - May 13, 2014

Carmella Mary Mangione Unker, 96, wife of the late Anthony Unker of Stamford, passed peacefully into the next phase of her life on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

Carmella was born on August 9, 1917 in the town of Bedford Hills, New York.  Her parents were Salvatore Mangione and Rosaria Lo Prestino Mangione of Licata, Sicily.  Her father was a stone mason and contractor who built many homes in the towns of Bedford Hills, Katonah, and Mount Kisco, New York.  Carmella was the sixth of eight children.  She was the last surviving sibling after her brother Thomas Mangione passed in February of 2008.

Mrs. Unker was married to Anthony Ernest Unker of Port Chester, New York on December 29, 1956 in Bedford Hills, New York.  They had one child, Ralph Anthony Unker, born on September 29, 1958 in Stamford, CT.  Carmella is grandmother to three children, Kristina Carmella Unker of Norwalk, CT, age 33, Steven Anthony Unker of East Hartford, CT, age 31, and Anthony James Unker of Fairfield, CT, age 20.  Mr. Unker passed away on May 26, 1972.

At the age of 22 in 1939, Carmella or “Manna,” as she is affectionately known to her family of nieces and nephews, decided to look for her first job.  Since all her five brothers were being drafted for the expected war she wanted to do something to be part of the war effort in support of her country.  Carmella applied first to the phone company.  She was selected to work there but had to receive training prior to officially beginning her position.  Once learning that the training was in New Jersey she had to decline the position.  As the oldest sister in the family, she was responsible for caring for her sick mother as well as the household chores.

During World War II she volunteered for 3 ½ years as a Nurses’ Aide in Mount Kisco Hospital.  Shortly thereafter a cousin mentioned that Bridgeport Brass was hiring people to make shells for the war effort.  This was a company who her brother-in-law, Joseph Medeiros worked for.  Everything was easily accommodated in terms of her household responsibilities so she took the job.  Throughout her job search she had also applied to Westfield State Farms which was a reformatory for women in trouble with the law.  During her tenure at Bridgeport Brass she received a call from Westfield through a customer of her brother Tom who had a taxi company.

Since the reformatory was less than one mile from her house and more importantly, the chance of starting a career, she spoke to her supervisor about leaving.  Once at Westfield, Carmella began her career as a prison guard.  After three years she was promoted to head cook in the kitchen.  She loved being a guard and had to be coached into taking the newly offered position of head cook.  The way she reasoned to accept the promotion was twofold.  One, it carried with it a big pay raise, and two, she would have a title.

For 10 ½ more years it was Head Cook, Carmella M. Mangione, on her uniform.  In September of 1956 she met Anthony Unker at a house warming party in Stamford, CT.  His brother’s wife, Julie Maholich, had relatives who had just purchased a new home.  Mr. Unker, a master plumber, was invited by the contractor to attend and celebrate.  Three months later they wed and honeymooned in Florida for two weeks.  Upon returning they decided to live in Stamford to begin their life together.  This caused a problem with the New York State Reformatory.  Her supervisor told her they were not allowed to employ out of state residents.

Carmella Mary then began life as a homemaker and gave birth to her only child two years later.  When her husband became ill in 1966 she ventured out to get a job and help out with the family income.

On November, 11 1967 she began her career with the United States Postal Service.  She was also doing part-time work with her sister-in-law, Julie, for Ever Ready Maintenance.  In the Post office she was a full time employee on Tour 3 working Monday through Friday, from 3:00p.m. until 11:00p.m.

In 1969 she had to change to part-time flexible due to her husband’s condition.  In 1975 she was able to change to full time regular clerk, a position she held until July of 2003. Carmella would walk to and from work in order to get exercise.  She lived 1 ½ miles from the job until 1977.  After moving, she drove to work until she had to retire due to illness. In 1998, and then again in 2003 she was recognized by the Postal Service as being the oldest full-time employed female in the country.  Carmella turned down all but one newspaper interview and did not accept any television talk shows she was invited to.
After retirement she moved in with her son in Fairfield CT.  She was a devoted catholic, and nearly never missed a service.

She is survived by her loving son Ralph A. Unker, his wife Marta and their 3 children Kristina Carmella, Steven and Anthony as well as by many loving nieces and nephews.

Friends may call on Friday, from 5:00-8:00 PM at Collins Funeral Home, Norwalk. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 10:00 AM in Sacred Heart Church, Stamford.  Burial will follow in St. Francis of Assisi Cemetery, Mt. Kisco, NY.

She is survived by her loving son Ralph A. Unker, his wife Marta and their 3 children Kristina Carmella, Steven and Anthony as well as by many loving nieces and nephews.

Friends may call on Friday, from 5:00-8:00 PM at Collins Funeral Home, Norwalk. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 10:00 AM in Sacred Heart Church, Stamford.  Burial will follow in St. Francis of Assisi Cemetery, Mt. Kisco, NY.

  1. Love you like a mother. You have been a source of strength since I was 15 yrs old. Thank you for your love and forgiveness. Marta

    May 15, 2014
    Marta -
  • Nonna,
    They don’t make them like they used to. You were one tough lady. Finally you can get some rest. You were a saint here on earth, and you will forever be our guardian angel. We all thank God for sharing you with us as long as he did. I will take pride in the lessons I’ve learned from you as long as I live (LOVE, PATIENCE, HARD WORK, FAMILY) . You were one of a kind, and left an everlasting mark on anybody who was lucky enough to know you.
    Love,
    Steven

    May 15, 2014
    Steven Unker -
  • Carmella you are a wonderful lady. You had more strength and passion than anyone I know. You loved your son, Ralph as much as a person can and he loved you back the same way. You are a pillar of strength and love. I am so sorry to say goodbye to you my family and my friend. Carmella I love you forever!

    Love,
    Tony

    May 15, 2014
    Ralph A. Unker for Antonio Villani -
  • Mommy I feel so bad to know I will never see you again here on earth. I miss you so much. You have been the best example of life and living I could ever imagine. I will always think of you in every phase of the rest of my life. I know you are at peace and in heaven where you deserve to be with God and all the angels and saints. I hope you find Ziggy, Kaiser and Daddy with you in paradise along with your entire family who has been waiting for you to join them. I will do my best to continue on your teachings the rest of my life. You are ALWAYS with me forever and ever. I love you mommy.

    Your Son,
    Ralph

    May 15, 2014
    Ralph A. Unker -
  • Carmella,
    Your faith and love for the Lord was so strong. You were a devoted mother and grandmother. A loyal friend. Always a conscientious, hard worker. In all your ways, a wonderful example to others. You were always there for me and my family. You were like a mother, to me. My mother died when I was 17 years old. I will always be grateful to you and thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful friend. I know God opened His arms wide to receive you, and bring you into heaven to be with Him. I miss you very much. You will always hold a special place in my heart.
    Love, Mary

    May 16, 2014
    Mary Bellavia -
  • Ralph and family,

    . So very, very sorry for your loss! “Mom” was a truly magnificent women in every way, shape and form who I was privileged to know. May she rest in peace.

    May 16, 2014
    Mike Ganino -
  • Aunt Carmella, so close to my heart I claimed you as family. One of the best babysitter’s I ever had, and a great friend as I got older. Your yearly birthday cards kept coming as I got older, and you were one of the very few that always remembered. Your Milano and Oreo cookie surprises were always a treat, you were always so thoughtful and caring. Your dependability and hard work were life lessons I’ll never forget. The world has lost a great woman, but Heaven is rejoicing.

    May 16, 2014
    Mario Bellavia -
  • My dear Unker Family….. I am so very sorry for your loss, Nonna was one of the great ones. We have all been so blessed to have known her for so long. She really lived life to the fullest and has been such a wonderful role model for all of those that had the opportunity to have her in their lives.My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.

    Hugs and kisses,
    “Tabes”

    May 16, 2014
    Stephanie Jones -
  • Under family—I am so sorry rot hear of the loss of your mother. I was privileged to work with her and she was always very conscientious
    And a most pleasant person. You all now have another person in heaven to pray to. May she rest in peace.

    May 16, 2014
    Daniel hogan -
  • MY DEEPEST CONDOLENCES IN THE PASSING OF YOUR MOTHER. MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

    May 16, 2014
    LAURA KNAPP -
  • Mommy,

    Your funeral mass today was the most beautiful mass i’ve ever been a part of. I know you loved it too because you let me know with your presence throughout. The songs performed in your honor were the perfect complement to you from everyone!

    Your Beloved Son,
    Ralph

    May 18, 2014
    Ralph A. Unker -
  • Please accept my condolences for the loss of your mother. My deepest sympathies are with you and your family at this time. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. May your heart be filled with wonderful memories. With sincere sympathy, Adrienne.

    May 18, 2014
    Adrienne Eubanks Drain -
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