Maria Mazza Pellegrino passed away on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, at the age of 71. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend who adored her family. Maria had a magical touch when it came to entertaining and was known for her passion for life, her sophisticated fashion sense, worldly travels, and always acknowledging her Italian heritage as a proud American, and even prouder Italian-American.
Maria emigrated to the United States from Vallata in the province of Avellino, Italy, with her parents Rocco and Annunziata Mazza and her siblings in 1958. The family settled in Elizabeth, N.J., and Maria attended St. Anthony Elementary School. She graduated from Battin High School in Elizabeth and attended Kean University.
After growing up in Elizabeth and starting her married life in Manhattan and then Elizabeth, Maria moved with her husband and daughters to Springfield, N.J., in 1990. She and her husband Silvio then retired to Bayville in 2020.
Maria had a long career at Summit Bank, where she worked as manager of the Elizabethport branch and the Jefferson Avenue branch. She served on various community boards and volunteer initiatives.
Maria then transitioned to the airline industry where she worked as a client representative at Continental Airlines, which merged with United Airlines in 2010. During her time at the airline, Maria met many celebrities. She would recall a conversation she had with Robert De Niro about their shared Italian roots.
One of the highlights of Maria’s life as a Roman Catholic was meeting Pope John Paul II with her mother at the Vatican in 2000 and receiving a papal blessing.
Maria was predeceased by her siblings Antoinette Tourkay and Michael Mazza. She is survived by her husband, Silvio; loving daughters Christina Pellegrino (Joseph Conte) of Califon; Silviene Gryzbowski (Francis) of Springfield; cherished grandchildren Maria and Joseph Gryzbowski; brother Carmine Mazza of Edison; her in-laws, and many nephews, nieces, cousins, and other family members.
A visitation will be held on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Bradley, Smith & Smith Funeral Home at 415 Morris Ave., Springfield, N.J. A Memorial Mass is being planned for Saturday, May 18, at Saint James the Apostle Church in Springfield to celebrate Maria’s beautiful life on her birthday. To send the family a condolence, please visit, www.bradleyfuneralhomes.com.