Woman known for sharing food, smiles
Tommasa "Susie" Pane was always ready to share her homegrown tomatoes or a warm smile with others, even those she didn't know.
"She was a good woman," said Sam Pane, the older of Mrs. Pane's sons. "She did for everybody. I'm really going to miss her."
Mrs. Pane, of Morningside, died of heart failure Monday, Oct. 11, 2004, at Vincentian De Marillac Nursing Home in Stanton Heights. She was 94.
Mrs. Pane's parents came to the United States from Italy when she was 11 years old. The family settled in Sharpsburg after her father got a job with the Pennsylvania Railroad.
In 1925, at the age of 16, she married Vincent "James" Pane, who had immigrated to the United States when he was 17.
They had two children, and Mrs. Pane stayed home to raise them and help her parents and other family members. Everyone enjoyed her cooking, family members said.
"She used to make homemade ravioli rolled out with a broom handle," said daughter-in-law Mary Ethel Pane, Sam's wife. "You could count on her having bread and pizza. She always had food on her table."
Around the holidays, Mrs. Pane would invite family and friends to her home and share the many Italian and American dishes she enjoyed preparing. She also shared fresh vegetables raised in her garden.
"Christmas Eve was for the whole family," Sam Pane said. "Everybody was at our house for Christmas Eve. We miss that."
After her husband died in 1988, Mrs. Pane lived with Sam and Mary Ethel Pane for 11 years. She moved to the Vincentian De Marillac Nursing Home in 1999 because she required more skilled nursing care for her osteoporosis, impaired vision and other illnesses.
Because of her bone condition, she'd often fall and suffer injuries that required hospitalization for months.
"She came back (from the hospital) and still did for everybody," Mary Ethel Pane said. "She was quite a woman. She helped everyone in her family."
More recently, Mrs. Pane was bedridden or used a wheelchair at the nursing home. But that never stopped her from sharing smiles and recipes with other residents and the staff.
"The staff liked her a lot," said Candy Mulholland, director of nursing at Vincentian De Marillac, where Mrs. Pane lived the last five years of her life. "She was a very sweet lady."
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Pane was preceded in death by two brothers, Nat Palazzo and Richard Palazzo; a sister, Norma Mancerella; and two grandchildren.
She is survived by two sons, Salvatore "Sam" Pane and his wife, Mary Ethel, of Morningside, and Peter Pane and his wife, Marie, of Saxonburg; two sisters, Helen Caridi, of Cheswick, and Rose Wiggins, of Chicago; a brother, Frank Palazzo, of Sharpsburg; six grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today and Thursday at the Gary R. Ritter Funeral Home, 1314 Middle St., Sharpsburg. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Raphael Church, 1118 Chislett St., Morningside.