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Marie Bernasconi, funeral director, florist Aug. 25, 1925 -- Feb. 15, 2006

NIAGARA FALLS -- Marie A. Bernasconi, who worked as a funeral director, floral designer and business owner, died unexpectedly Wednesday in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center after a brief illness. She was 80.

Born Marie Amato in Niagara Falls, she was a graduate of Trott Vocational High School and Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in Syracuse.

She received her funeral director's license at age 17 and served her apprenticeship with her father, Charles Amato, in Amato Funeral Home at 19th Street and Ferry Avenue.

Mrs. Bernasconi was also a floral designer and owned and operated Niagara Florist until the mid-1960s. From 1969 to 1976, she and her husband, Guido D., owned and operated Mr. Chef's Take Out on Lockport Road in the Town of Niagara.

After retiring as a funeral director, she worked as a procurement clerk at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station until the late 1980s.

Mrs. Bernasconi was a member of the Century Club, Operation Petticoat and the local Business and Professional Woman's Club. She enjoyed cooking, reading and working crossword puzzles.

Her husband of 49 years died in 1997.

Survivors include two daughters, Susan Angelo of Niagara Falls and Joanne Lewis of California; a brother, John Amato of Amherst; a sister, Gertrude
Pinialis of Niagara Falls; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 5604 Lindbergh Ave., after prayers at 8:45 in Spallino-Amigone Funeral Home, 1300 Pine Ave. Burial will be in St. Joseph Cemetery.

[KOWALIK]

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