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Mom showed love with baking, firm guidance

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Rose Marie (Gioia) Jones, 96, of Murrysville, formerly of Trafford, passed away peacefully Thursday, July 10, 2014.

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By Bill Zlatos
Sunday, July 13, 2014, 10:27 p.m.

Rose Marie Jones used to bake loaf after loaf of Swedish rye bread as a group of her children and their friends waited on the front stoop.

“If you're sitting on the sidewalk in front, you could smell it through the screen door. Then she would call when it was made, and she would make sure she had fed everybody,” recalled her daughter, Judith Bogaty of New Kensington.

Rose Marie Jones of Murrysville, formerly of McKeesport, died of congestive heart failure on Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Forbes Hospice. She was 96.

She was born in Newell to Enrico and Clementine Gioia. After graduating from the former Trafford High School, she went to work for Westinghouse Electric. Her brother Frank, then in the Army Air Force, showed a picture of her to buddy Edwin P. Jones. He exchanged some letters with her before he and his friend went to the family's house while on leave so that Jones could meet her for dinner.

“He fell in love with the warm smile and beautiful face in the picture, but it was even more so when he met her,” said their daughter, Barbara Bambara of Corte Madera, Calif.

Clementine Gioia convinced Jones to stay at the house for three days. He proposed to her the next year in the Vogue Terrace nightclub in East McKeesport. They were married on Oct. 16, 1946.

The mother of six children, Mrs. Jones cooked and baked for eight people every day from morning to night. At Christmas time, she baked about 1,100 sugar and bar cookies, thumbprints, honey balls, biscotti and pizzelles, and stashed boxes of them in the attic to cool. Her children would sneak an occasional cookie out of a box.

Mrs. Jones was a tough cookie herself. She survived four bouts with breast cancer.

She earned a reputation from her children as a stern disciplinarian when they broke curfew. She would wait up in the living room, sitting on the sofa and reading a book until the offender arrived.

“It was just the look that we got. It's stern. It's looking at you like she's looking right through you. You're almost frozen because you know you can't lie,” Bogaty said.

Added Bambara, “You didn't think about lingering in the car with your boyfriend when you came from a date because it would leave a bad impression. If you did linger, you would get the evil eye and be yelled at.”

Mrs. Jones was preceded in death by sisters Mary Gioia and Evelyn DeSue, and brothers Frank and Peter Gioia. In addition to her husband and daughters Judith and Barbara, survivors include daughters Terri Fleeger of DuBois and Mary Beth Coates of Upper Burrell; sons Richard Jones of Grand Junction, Colo., and Robert Jones of DuBois; a brother, Alphonse Gioia of North Carolina; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Family and friends may visit from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in Hart Funeral Home Inc., 3103 Lillian Ave., Murrysville. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Our Lady of Joy Church, 2000 O'Block Road, Plum. Entombment will be private.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or

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