Stella Di Bella, of Roslindale, MA passed away peacefully on Sept. 28, 2022. Mrs. Di Bella was
97 years old and the matriarch of her loving family. She is pre-deceased by her husband,
Antonino and her son Vincent. Mrs. Di Bella is survived by her daughter-in-law Tricia, her two
sons Francis and Joseph and their wives, Julia and Deborah. Mrs. Di Bella has four
grandchildren, Anthony and his wife, Megan; Jeana and her husband David; Rose and husband
David, Christina and husband Eddy along with eight great grandchildren: Emily, AJ, Gabriella,
Aidan, Giana, Nolan, Olivia and Juliana.
On behalf of my mother, and our entire family, I want to thank you all, for being here for us.
Today is a sad day for our family and friends. Today is a sad day for us. But today is a happy day for my mother. Today her eyes are open to the mystery of life and death. How can I ever express the deep love I feel for my mother? Maybe by telling her story:
Little bambina Stella was born in 1925. She had a brother Sam, and a sister Josie. She grew up in Boston’s North End. Not far from the freedom trail and the Old North Church.
The North End was different then, filled with Italian immigrants, like mom’s parents, working hard to make a better life.
Little Stella spoke little English when she entered 1 st grade, but she went on to graduate with honors. She loved music, was in the school band, and played the clarinet and the fife.
Luckily for us, she met Antonino DiBella, the love of her life, and got married at the age of 24. Their love for each other was unshakeable. By the 10th year, she had given birth to Francis, Vincent, and Joseph. She was a wonderful mom, warm, strongly religious, and yet ahead of her
time, in her ability to be open minded. Raising 3 sons, she had some amusing expressions.
My favorite was: “It looks like a cyclone hit this place.”
She was always busy, doing something important for us. After a hectic day she would say: “I haven’t sat down all day” She had great advice for us, when we were growing up. Sometimes this advice came in the form of a question. For example, if we had doubts about a social issue or were embarrassed, she would say “What do you care what other people think?”
She hardly ever lost her temper, and I don’t remember her hitting any of us, but when we got her mad, she would open and rattle, the big spoon drawer to get us running away fast.
She was warm and gentle, but could be as tough as nails.
When we were teenagers, in addition to taking care of Dad and the 3 of us, mom worked, making contact lenses. To get to work, every day she walked over 2 miles back and forth to Roslindale Square, in all kinds of weather. Mom always instilled in us the value of learning, and the power of knowledge. Together, mom and dad made sacrifices so that we had
opportunities that they never had. The most important thing for my mom was family.
And she loved feeding us. Every night we had a 3-course, home cooked meal. Mom loved keeping up family traditions, and the big Sunday dinner was one of them. What great memories we have of mom’s cooking! I can still remember the daily school lunches she made for us. In high school my friends wanted to trade their generic sandwiches for my delicious home-
made meatball subs. Yes, mom loved family, and was blessed with 3 wonderful, caring daughters- in law Tricia, Julia, and Debbie.
From 1979 and into the 80’s, one by one, new bundles of joy entered her life.
Her 4 grandchildren, Tony, Jeana, Rose, Christina. When dad passed away in 1998, we worried that mom would feel alone. But, she went on to live independently for most of her remaining 24 years. Mom loved to drive herself to go grocery shopping. She was most comfortable at home. She loved her neighbors, and they loved her too. I started calling her every night and did so until the very end.
The Sunday dinner tradition, moved to our house in West Roxbury where Debbie, having benefited from watching mom cook, would do the cooking. When my in-laws joined us for dinner, Stephen would say “Stella, Debbie could never cook this good before she met you.”
Into the new millennium, more bundles of joy entered mom’s life: Gabriella, Aidan, Giana, Emily, AJ, Nolan, Olivia, and Juliana. 8 great grandchildren. All so precious. Mom enjoyed life without the distractions of the internet, and had no interest in a credit card, cable TV, or cell phone.
Mom laughed often, and always had a smile on her face when she greeted you. She had a great sense of humor. Near her 97 th birthday I asked her, “Mom, do you remember, going to see silent movies when you were a kid?” She laughed and said “Joseph, how old do you think I am anyway?” In recent years, I would sing, and play songs for her on my guitar. One of mom’s favorites was “When it Rains it Pours” by Luke Combs, because of a funny line in the song about a mother-in-law. She used to say to me “Play the mother-in-law song.” Then she would laugh
when I got to the funny lyrics. I’m happy that I was able to play her one last song on the eve of her passing.
In every story, we should look for the heroes. Frank and Julia, you are the heroes in mom’s story. To take mom into your home, and care for her these last 4 years, with such great care and devotion, must be recognized as the most profound expression of love and caring. You gave mom’s story her happy ending. My mom had a long, full, and happy life. We should be happy that she is finally at peace, and can once again see . . . my father and all her dear
departed loved ones. Goodbye, Mom. We love you, and we will miss you.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend viewing hours on Thursday, October 6, 2022 from 9-11 AM in the Joseph Russo Funeral Home, 814 American Legion Highway, Roslindale, Ma. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:30 AM in St. John Chrysostom Church, 4750 Washington Street, West Roxbury, Ma. Interment will be in St. Michael Cemetery, 500 Canterbury Street, Roslindale, Ma.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to the Children’s (ending NF) Tumor