After more than a decade out of the workforce, Connie Conte got a job on the night desk at a hospital in Northern New Jersey. Her marriage was coming to an end, and she was going to need money to start a new life with her two children.
“I just always remember how, when she got divorced, she was starting from scratch, without any money, any job experience, anything, and just picking up and moving forward, and doing it for us,’’ said her daughter, Luciana Conte of Levittown.
Two years later, in 1991, Connie moved to Levittown, where her brother, Joseph Mannino, lived and took a job as the manager at Recco Home Care Service of Massapequa. Five years after that, she bought a house. She was planning to retire this year and move out of that house, before she contracted COVID-19. She died, from complications of the virus, on April 15 at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, Luciana Conte said. She was 66.
Connie Conte was born Jan. 9, 1954, in Palermo, Sicily. She was 18 months old when her parents, Vito and Rosa Mannino moved to Brooklyn, where she grew up. She graduated from Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School in Brooklyn and got a job at a bank in Manhattan, where she met her husband, whom she married in 1974. The couple had two children, James and Luciana.
Conte’s life revolved around being a mom, her children said.
“She did everything for us,’’ Luciana said.
But her mothering extended beyond her own children, said James Conte of Sound Beach.
“If we had friends that needed to stay with us for a while, her question was always ‘How long?’’’ he said. “It was never a question of if they could. And between me and my sister, that happened a few times.’’
She loved to cook, hosting traditional eight-course Italian Sunday dinners and making her own pasta sauce, of course. And she was happy to share her recipes with others, especially her daughter-in-law, Marisa Conte.
“She was a very giving person,’’ James said.
Years after her divorce, Connie fell in love with Richard Pagano, and the two were engaged for years, until Pagano died in 2010. Years later, she fell in love again, this time with John O’Brien, who asked her to marry him two years ago. Connie said yes, and was engaged again. The couple had planned to move to Suffolk County after Connie’s retirement.
Connie Conte was cremated and family members said a memorial service will be held at a later date. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother.
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