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Josephine Della Neve always kept Christmas in her own way -- and that meant in a big way.

Each year, the Della Neve house at 4663 Clark St. in Hamburg always seemed to have more lights and decorations than the year before.

This year, the lights, the stars, the manger scene, the Santas, choirboys and wise men are all there, along with a new sign.

Domenick Della Neve erected a sign in memory of his wife, who died May 26 at age 72.

"This is the season my wife loved above everything else," Della Neve said.

Decorating the house this year was not the same without his wife, but Della Neve was driven to place the ornaments in honor of Josephine.

"I just had to do it for her," he said.

He said he started a couple of weeks earlier than usual, because she was not there to help him. Last year, she drove her car down the 300-foot driveway and rested in between hanging lights. As usual, their son Gary helped out hanging lights on the house.

The sign was Della Neve's idea. It reads: "In loving memory of my wife Josephine, whose ideas and motivation showed us the spirit of Christmas."

"I had thought about (a sign) this past year," he said.

The idea took form when he visited the Erie County Fair and saw a vendor selling signs. He ordered one on the spot.

The couple, who would have been married 52 years in November, bought the Clark Street house 25 years ago. They didn't start out with thousands of lights, but the display evolved over the years.

Today, one tree alone has about 2,000 lights on it. Della Neve's electric bill will jump from $75 or $80 to the $300 range this month. The couple never accepted donations for the decorations.

"It's a lot of pleasure," Mrs. Della Neve said last year, when asked why they decorate.

Every Christmas Eve, she handed out candy to children from the foot of the driveway. That tradition will continue with her son Rocco and his children distributing candy.

Della Neve spent 42 years as a letter carrier in downtown Buffalo with the U.S. Postal Service. He served in Germany during World War II as a member of the 104th Infantry, and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

As for next year, he does not know whether he will deck the house again.

"I more than likely will continue the tradition," he said. "I'm doing what I could do. Nobody could do it like her."

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