Mary Louise Cararbe
June 26, 1924 - May 2, 2015
Mary Louise Cararbe, age 90, passed away peacefully at her home on May 2nd.
Mary was born in Norwalk on June 26, 1924, daughter to Custode (Chris) and Jenny Bottone, early 20th century immigrants from southern Italy. With her brother Larry Bottone (who passed away last year at age 89), she grew up on Strawberry Hill Avenue, at the time a close-knit Italian-American section of Norwalk. In 1946, Mary was wed to Frank Cararbe from Bridgeport, a WWII vet who served nobly in the Pacific theatre. Throughout most of the 1950’s, Mary and Frank were owners of a restaurant and then a laundry in Westport. Then, over a more than 35 year period, Mary worked first for the Character Toy company and then for Trudy Toys in Norwalk, both manufacturers of high quality stuffed animals and toys. After retiring, she had several years as a family nanny.
Mary was committed to the care of her mother and father, and was always close by, living for over 50 years just two blocks away. She was an early widow, when Frank passed away at the age of 59 in 1977. While always a devoted member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in East Norwalk, in widow-hood she found herself increasingly engaged in church activities, including many initiatives to help others less fortunate than herself. She became a Eucharistic Minister at age 60. For many years she was responsible for the weekly cleaning and ironing of the communion napkins, and for several years she also volunteered her time to assist unwed mothers who were sheltered at the St. Thomas community center.
Having raised two children, in 1982 she was blessed with her first grandchild, and enjoyed five more over the years, as well as one great-grandchild. Physical distance often separated Mary from her family. Her daughter, Linda and her family, lived for many years in upstate New York. Linda now resides in Jacksonville, FL. Her son, Peter and his family have lived in Arizona, California, and England, and currently reside in Sweden. But Mary, blessed with good health and boundless energy, was ever intrepid in visiting the grandkids as often as possible. As recently as 4 years ago, at age 87, she hopped a flight to Stockholm, to see her twin grandsons make their confirmation, and just 6 months ago she was on the jet to Jacksonville to spend quality time with her 1 year old great-grandson.
After living alone in her home for many years, in 2002 Mary entered The Marvin Senior Care home in East Norwalk (“The Marvin”). With many friends and many responsibilities, Mary flourished there for the remainder of her golden years. In addition to the internal responsibilities (including being a master “bingo caller”), Mary also participated in many community service projects, including the making of blankets for our troops. She also was something of a legend as a baker of cookies, especially for Christmas and for many family gatherings, including the wedding of her oldest granddaughter.
Mary always set a high standard for family service, community service, and vigor. Her commitment to her family, both immediate and wider, as well as her endurable faith, is inspirational to all of us left behind. Mary is survived by her daughter, Linda Miller, granddaughters Marina Miller and Lauren Miller Agresti, son-in-law Dr. Nicholas Agresti and great-grandson Hudson Agresti. She is also survived by her son Peter Carabi, daughter-in-law Helena Carabi, as well as grandsons Alexander, Nicholas, Philip and Christian Carabi.
Friends may call on Sunday from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday at 10:00 AM in St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 203 East Avenue, Norwalk. Burial will follow in St. John Cemetery, 223 Richards Avenue, Norwalk.
Donations in her memory may be made to The Marvin, 60 Gregory Boulevard, Norwalk, CT 06855, 203-854-4660; or to the Masonicare Hospice, 535 Connecticut Ave., Suite 101, Norwalk, CT 06854, 203-831-8882.