August 29, 1918 – November 9, 2017
Madeline Gioia Amigone was a "Renaissance woman." She golfed for seven decades, baked "legendary" chocolate cakes and inspired excellence in the special educations students she tutored in her Amherst home.
Amigone died of natural causes Nov. 9 at HighPointe on Michigan nursing home. She was 99 years old, the second oldest alumna of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva.
"She was the finest person I'd ever known, the last of a generation among all of her family and friends," said her son, Nicholas P. Amigone III.
Mrs. Amigone was born and raised in Rochester, the third of four children for Anthony and Angeline Gioia, founders of the Gioia Macaroni Company.
She graduated from William Smith in 1940 with a teaching certificate and a bachelor's degree in English.
In 1948, Mrs. Amigone married Nicholas P. Amigone Jr. and moved to his hometown of Buffalo, where his cousins ran a funeral home business.
They had two children.
"Before she married my father, she worked primarily in her family business," said her son. "During the war years, the company supplied pasta to U.S. forces stationed throughout the world."
The Gioia family eventually moved the business from Rochester to Buffalo to take advantage of the area's grain industry and proximity to rail transportation, said Amigone.
It was around this time that Mrs. Amigone's husband took a job as maitre'd at the Chez Ami supper club that was owned and operated by his brother Phil Amigone at 311 Delaware Ave. Famous for a circular bar that revolved every seven minutes, the club featured a full orchestra, and was the "place to be" in the '40s and '50, according to Amigone.
"But with a wife and new baby, the situation wasn't working out too well," Amigone said. "So he went to work as sales manager for Gioia and served as an officer in the corporation until 1977, when the family sold the business."
During the 1970s, Mrs. Amigone attended Buffalo State College where she earned a master's degree in special education. She worked as a special-education teacher at the Board of Cooperative Education Services in the Williamsville and Clarence school districts. Mrs. Amigone also tutored students in her home, said Amigone.
Throughout her life, Mrs. Amigone excelled at a number of pastimes, and earned the nickname Julia Child from friends and family, who raved about her flavorful continental cuisine, recalled her son.
"She subscribed to Gourmet magazine and had hundreds of cookbooks," said Amigone. "Her legendary chocolate cake was baked with chocolate from the Netherlands."
Mrs. Amigone was equally at home on a golf course as she was in the kitchen, introducing the sport to her husband, children, grandchildren and nephews, said her son. She was a member of the Transit Valley Country Club for 60 years. In Delray Beach, she played golf for 30 years at the Quail Ridge Country Club.
Mrs. Amigone possessed a fierce loyalty to her alma mater and to her classmates, Amigone said. She continued to socialize with them over games of bridge into her 90s said Amigone.
"She had a great sense of practical judgment, and provided guidance to her family and friends when times were good and bad," her son said. "She neither offered mediocrity nor accepted it."
Her husband of 58 years, Nicholas P. Amigone Jr., died in 2007. Mrs. Amigone's brothers, Horace A. Gioia, and Dr. D. Frederick Gioia, and her sister, Josephine D’Aloia, also predeceased her.
In addition to her son, and daughter, Carole Amigone Seid, Mrs. Amigone is survived by four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered 11 a.m. Dec. 9 at St. Joseph’s University Church, 3269 Main St.