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Mary Grace Paonessa, 100, ex-music union secretary

Nov. 27, 1914 – May 2, 2015

NIAGARA FALS – Mary Grace Paonessa, former secretary of Musicians Union Local 106, died Saturday at her home in Niagara Falls. She was 100.

A native of Charleroi, Pa., the former Grace Viverito moved to Niagara Falls with her family in 1916.

Even though English was her second language, she won the prestigious Lion’s Club Award in sixth grade. She attended Trott Vocational High School and studied cosmetology and business. In her early 20s, her father asked her to quit her job to take care of her siblings when her mother passed away.

Before her marriage, however, she worked at Kresge’s, Lincoln’s and the YWCA. Later in life, she worked at Ambassador Leather Goods.

She also helped her husband with his job as business agent of Musicians Union Local 106, serving as secretary.

Mrs. Paonessa traveled to 30 major cities, and three times to Europe. On one of her trips she went to Alia, Sicily, her parent’s home town, and met many of her first cousins.

Her husband, Salvatore L. Paonessa, died in 2003 after 61 years of marriage.

Survivors include three daughters, Judith Paonessa, Sylvia Christian and Kathleen Obert; a son, Peter; seven grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at noon Wednesday in Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph Parish at St. Joseph Church, 1413 Pine Ave.

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