Daughter of Italian immigrants put family first
Nothing says love like a bowl of cappelletti soup.
The small, hat-shaped pasta bathed in a warm broth was a Christmas Day staple in Mary Moff’s home. It’s an Italian tradition she upheld and passed down to her own children.
But it wasn’t just about the soup, her children said. It was the hours in the kitchen — hours spent with loved ones — that made the soup special.
“Family is very important, and that’s how we were raised,” her daughter Rosie Wolford said.
Mary A. Moff, 87, of Latrobe passed away Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, at Kelly’s Personal Care Home in Greensburg.
Born Jan. 19, 1931, she was the daughter of Basilio and Augustina Antinori, Italian immigrants who settled in Crabtree.
Mrs. Moff’s mother died when she was young. As the eldest of four siblings, she quit school after eighth grade to care for her sister and two brothers, Wolford said.
She was devoted to family throughout her life, maintaining ties to extended family throughout the region and back in Italy. Relatives will hold a Mass in her honor Tuesday in Sant’ Agata Feltria, a municipality in the province of Rimini, her daughter Annette Jacobson said.
“Our house was always filled with the smell of good food and family,” Wolford said, adding that her mother could always be found in the kitchen. Christmas also included trips to “Camp Grandma,” when Mrs. Moff’s grandchildren would visit for cookie-making lessons.
“You’d walk into the house and it was the typical Italian — What can I get you to eat?” Wolford said.
Her brother, Charlie Moff, remarked on how incredible it is to still be celebrating holidays with extended family.
“It was really important for her, and she instilled that, so it was important to us,” he said.
Though her early life was hard, Mrs. Moff took challenges in stride, Jacobson said. Growing up in an immigrant family helped her mother learn to understand and to connect with people.
“She pretty much was very welcoming, and very comfortable with people,” Jacobson said. “She very much had a sense of giving and helpfulness that was from her heart.”
Mrs. Moff was a member of Holy Family Church in Latrobe, where she was a Eucharistic minister and member of the Holy Family Rosary Society. She also volunteered at the Holy Family school cafeteria.
Her generosity extended to friends and the community, her daughter Mary Lynn Bruce said.
“She was a kind and generous person who would always help people,” Bruce said. Her mother could always be counted on for a last-minute babysitting request or a ride to the doctor’s office. “She would always just drop everything to help someone if they needed something.”
Mrs. Moff is survived by her husband, Charles J. Moff Jr. of Latrobe; a son, Charles J. Moff III and his wife, Joan, of McMurray; three daughters, Annette Jacobson and her husband, Don, of Glenshaw; Mary Lynn Bruce and her husband, Dan, of Murrysville, and Rosie Wolford and Larry Fannie, of Latrobe; and five grandchildren.
Family and friends were received at the John J. Lopatich Funeral Home Inc. in Latrobe on Monday. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Family Church. Interment will follow at Unity Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made in Mrs. Moff’s name to Adams Memorial Library, 1112 Ligonier St., Latrobe, PA 15650, or the American Alzheimer’s Association, 1100 Liberty Ave., Suite E-201, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, email@example.com or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.