June 18, 1925 – Oct. 26, 2015
Teresa A. Paolini, of Amherst, a waitress and a singer who was featured soloist at countless community events, concerts, weddings and worship services for more than seven decades, died Monday in DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda, after a short illness. She was 90.
Born on Illinois Street in Buffalo, the daughter of Italian immigrants, the former Teresa Massa grew up in South Buffalo, attended School 28 and was a 1943 graduate of South Park High School. During World War II, she was a piston inspector at the Chevrolet plant on East Delavan Avenue.
As a girl, she took singing lessons and aspired to be an opera singer. She sang the national anthem at her high school graduation exercises and performed it before a sellout crowd in 1989 at a Buffalo Bisons baseball game. She also sang it in a duet with her daughter, Mary Pachla, at the opening ceremonies for the 2013 Italian Festival.
She also was a choir member and soloist at St. Lawrence Catholic Church for more than 67 years.
She began working as a waitress in fine-dining restaurants at the age of 15 and was employed at Lorenzo’s, the Plaza Suite, Salvatore’s on East Delavan Avenue and Eduardo’s. She retired from the Saturn Club at the age of 72. Renowned for her Italian cookies, she also was a private caterer.
At St. Lawrence Church, she was a eucharistic minister and a member of the Mothers Club and the Congrega Society. She also was a member of the San Pio Club, the Women’s Perseverance Society and the Archbishop Carroll Parents Guild.
Mrs. Paolini participated in the Women’s Health Initiative at the University at Buffalo from its inception in 1991 through last spring. She was honored by the UB Dental School during the past year for being its longest-term patient and was featured on the cover of the Spring 2015 issue of UB Dentist magazine.
Her husband of 64 years, Alfonso “Funzi,” a former bartender at The Place, died in 2011.
Survivors include four daughters, Mary R. Pachla, Hope A. Liddle, Joanne E. Fronabarger and Francine; two sons, Michael A. and Peter A.; a brother, Arthur Masso; seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Lawrence Church, 1520 E. Delavan Ave.