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Maria Miscioscia of Port Washington: Memories were made around her dinner table

Praised by her family for her cooking, Maria

Praised by her family for her cooking, Maria Miscioscia's dishes used fresh vegetables, including tomatoes from her garden. Credit: Sally Miscioscia

Loving. Generous. Devoted. Adored. 

These are only a few of the many ways Maria Miscioscia is remembered by her family. 

“Mommy loved everyone unconditionally and only wanted peace and happiness for everyone around her,” said her son Nick Miscioscia. 

A resident of Port Washington for almost 60 years, Miscioscia died on Easter Sunday, April 12, of COVID-19. She was 77. 

Maria Miscioscia, nee Raimo, was born May 10, 1942, in Naples, Italy, where she did secondary education and studied to be a midwife. In March 1961, she immigrated to Port Washington to live with her father, Antonio, and brother Alex in a boardinghouse on Monroe Street.

The first night Miscioscia arrived at the boarding house, another young resident from Bari, Italy, noticed her and was instantly captivated. His name was Francesco “Frank” Miscioscia, and he would become Maria’s husband. 

On their first date, Francesco asked Miscioscia’s father if he could take her to the movies. Maria’s father agreed but secretly followed the couple to the theater and sat four rows behind them. After seeing how respectful Francesco was of his daughter, he gave his blessing. The two were married on Dec 1, 1963, and “have been inseparable ever since,” said Miscioscia’s daughter-in-law Jill Froccaro Miscioscia.

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“Each and every time he would look at Mommy, even without saying a word, you could see the love in his eyes,” she said.

The couple had two sons, Nick and Luigi, and went into several businesses together. They owned Frank’s Italian American Deli in Port Washington from 1974 to 1976, and Miscioscia also owned a stationary store called Shore Rd Stationary from 1977 to 1980. 

Miscioscia worked as a cafeteria chef for Guggenheim Elementary School until the late 1980s, going on to become a floor supervisor for Thomson Industries, which produced equipment for NASA. She stayed busy after retiring in 1999, spending time with her family, knitting, gardening and going to church.

Jill Froccaro Miscioscia described her in-laws as “deeply faithful and religious,” attending St. Peter of Alcantara Roman Catholic Church each Sunday and praying together every night. According to Nick Miscioscia, the couple rarely spent a moment apart, except for summers when Maria would visit family in Italy. Frank always asked her what home renovation she wanted completed while she was away. When she returned home, a new bathroom or kitchen built by her husband awaited her. 

Miscioscia is remembered by her daughter-in-law as an expert tailor and phenomenal cook, using fresh vegetables, including tomatoes and cucumbers from her garden. Nick and his son, who worked in construction together, would stop by to have lunch with Miscioscia at least three times a week. 

Miscioscia’s family, who all live in Port Washington, also would gather for Sunday dinners at which she'd serve her signature dishes, such as lasagna, meatballs and chicken cutlets. Her grandchildren often cooked with her and now cherish their nonna’s recipes.

“Some of our happiest, most treasured memories of our lives were made together sharing a delicious home-cooked meal around Nonna’s table,” Jill said. 

In addition to her family, Miscioscia was devoted to her friends and they were devoted to her. Many of her and her husband's friends moved from Italy to Port Washington over the years and they formed a close-knit community. At Maria and Francesco’s surprise 50th wedding anniversary party in 2013, at least 150 guests gathered at Old Westbury Gardens to celebrate the couple and watch them renew their vows. 

“So many of the guests at [their] 50th wedding anniversary party were the very same friends who attended their wedding 50 years ago,” said Nick Miscioscia. “She forged treasured lifelong friendships and bonds with anyone blessed to know her...She lived her life selflessly and the greatest testament to her beautiful, giving heart is the legacy of love she leaves behind." 

In addition to her husband, two sons and daughter-in-law, Miscioscia is survived by daughter-in-law Rosamare, brothers Alex and Ugo Raimo, eight nieces and nephews and seven grandchildren. She was buried at Nassau Knolls Cemetery on April 23.

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