Good Morning
Good Morning

Liz Lombardi: Brookhaven resident catered for 30 years, was master chef at home

Undated photo of Elizabeth Lombardi

Undated photo of Elizabeth Lombardi Credit: Gary Lombardi

If building family bonds with love was what Liz Lombardi lived for, her kitchen was her workshop, her tasty foods her tools.

The Brookhaven hamlet resident, who worked in catering for 30 years, was the master chef at home. It was a role she savored as much as her family’s mouths watered over her dishes.

“She loved having parties [at] the house every year with family, always celebrating Christmas and Easter, and countless summer parties,” said Gary Lombardi, her husband of nearly 45 years. “She was always in the kitchen cooking for other people. Family was everything to her and she loved to plan parties.”

But Lombardi is among the thousands of New Yorkers who have succumbed to the novel coronavirus, a disease that took her life on April 8, her family said. She was 65.

“Elizabeth personified a life of service above self, devoting her entire heart and soul to her family, both immediate and extended,” Gary Lombardi said.

A Jamaica, Queens, native born April 15, 1954, the former Elizabeth Rojas attended St. Bernard's Catholic School in Levittown and Levittown Memorial High School. She was an honor roll student, chaired several school clubs and was voted "Most School Spirited" by her teachers and peers.

She met Gary Lombardi as the two worked at a Mays department store in Levittown. It was an unlikely pairing since he was a student at Levittown Division, her school’s archrival.

But, Gary Lombardi said, he noticed a strikingly beautiful young woman working in the store one day after he was advised to check out the girl in the handbags section.

He saw her and thought, “This is it.”

The couple married on May 11, 1975, and two children, Michael, now of Fairfield, Connecticut, and Jennifer, now of Central Islip, would follow.

But before the children arrived, Liz Lombardi graduated high school in 1972 and began working at Long Island Trust Co., a bank in Garden City — alongside her future husband.

She attended Nassau Community College and worked in banking, as a supervisor, until Michael was born in 1981. Jennifer came along in 1985.

Gary Lombardi said his wife took special pride in cheering on her son and daughter, Michael as a Georgetown University student and minor league baseball player — he played in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system — and Jennifer, who choreographed numbers for the varsity team to perform on the basketball court while serving as dance team captain at Villanova University.

Liz Lombardi was there when her daughter, at 21, contracted pulmonary high blood pressure, which required her to spend weeks at a time in the hospital due to recurring infections and ultimately resulted in a double lung transplant.

Liz Lombardi “was by her side every minute, not ever leaving the hospital,” Gary Lombardi said.

“She always lived life to the fullest with her family by her side,” relatives said in a tribute to the matriarch. “She worried about everyone, prayed for everyone, and cooked for everyone in the family."

Besides her husband, son and daughter, Elizabeth Lombardi is survived by three brothers, Mario Rojas of Oyster Bay and Frank and John Rojas, both of Levittown; and a sister, Cathy Lambrianidis of Bayside, Queens; three grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were private.