Sept. 10, 1930 - Oct. 17, 2016
NIAGARA FALLS - Luisa Volpe Colangelo, 86, a pasta and bread maker at the Como Restaurant in Niagara Falls for 55 years, died Monday after a short illness in Mount St. Mary's Hospital, Lewiston.
She was born in Abruzzi, Italy and came to the United States in the early 1950s. She settled in Niagara Falls with her husband, the late Donato Colangelo, shortly after they married in 1957. He died on Dec. 3, 1996.
Mrs. Colangelo brought her authentic Italian cooking skills to the Como Restaurant where she was employed as a pasta and bread maker, putting her touch on restaurant favorites such as gnocchi, fettuccine, ravioli, crusty pizza and bread.
"She loved working here, she loved life and we all loved her," said Louie Antonacci, one of the owners of the Como. "It was more than employer-employee. It was like family. She was like a mother or a grandmother to everybody."
Mrs. Colangelo worked with all five generations of the Antonacci family that has run the restaurant, Louie Antonacci said.
He remembers growing up with Mrs. Colangelo. He said his father, the late Mario Antonacci, brought him to the restaurant as a child and she would let him stand beside her and turn the handle to make the pasta.
He said some of Mrs. Colangelo's specialties were the pizza bread and her bow tie - a fried dough topped with powdered sugar and honey.
"I know what she's doing up there (in heaven). She's still baking," said Antonacci.
Mrs. Colangelo's daughter, Denise Favero, said her mother had worked continuously until injuring her knee a few months ago on a trip to Italy. She had traveled all over the world.
"We always had lots of good food," said Mrs. Favero. "She was very energetic and (her death) was out of the blue."
She said her mother was always cooking and baking at home, and grew ingredients in her garden for her fresh sauces and soups, including her favorite, minestrone.
"When we were growing up it was the good ol' days. We all lived within a block of each other in Niagara Falls and had 50 cousins all around us. We grew up very close," said Mrs. Favero.
She said her mother's greatest pleasure came from cooking for family gatherings and attending her grandchildren's events.
When she was not cooking, she enjoyed crocheting and was making a baby blanket with a hat and sweater to encourage a newly married grandchild to give her her first great-grandchild, said Mrs. Favero. "She was always thinking about the kids and taking care of them."
"I kept buying her yarn so she wouldn't keep jumping up," said Mrs. Favero. "She wanted to cook, believe me, but I just didn't want her standing in the kitchen."
Mrs. Colangelo also enjoyed bingo and playing cards with family and friends. She was a member of the Ladies Cristoforo Colombo Society, the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, Volare Lodge and a member of St. Joseph's Church in Niagara Falls.
She is survived by two daughters, Denise C. Favero of Lewiston and Angela Colangelo Horigan of East Amherst; a brother, Domenic, and seven grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 9:15 a.m. Saturday in M.J. Colucci Funeral Chapel, 2730 Military Road, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. in Holy Family Parish at St. Joseph's Church, 1413 Pine Ave. Entombment will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery.