Pasqua “Pasquarella” D’Agostino was born in San Giovanni e Paolo “Santian”, Italy on January sixth, 1926. She passed away on Tuesday, October third, 2018 in Albany, New York at 92 years old. She resided in Schenectady, New York with her daughter, Josephine De Filippo since November 2016.
Pasqua was born in a small Italian town known and beloved as Santian, or as Pasqua called it, paradise. The town is nestled in the Campania region among olive covered hills, and cobblestone streets. She was the youngest of seven born to the late Raffaele D’Agostino and Juditta De Sorbo.
Pasqua endured much adversity in her lifetime, but she never lost her quick wit, strong will and sense of humor. As a child she worked with her mother in the fields. When she was a teenager she survived WWII. During the war, German soldiers invaded Santian and burnt down her home. Her father was captured and later escaped. Even in recounting this difficulty time, Pasqua remembers the light in all of it. She laughed as she recounted hiding in a barn attic from Nazi soldiers with her mother and an older neighbor. The neighbor couldn’t stop coughing, so Pasqua, fearing the Nazis would hear them, shoved hay in the neighbor’s mouth to stop him from making a sound. Afterwards, the neighbor thanked her for saving their lives. The memory of the old neighbor coughing on the hay still cracked her up to this day.
Pasqua married the late Antonio Audi in 1950 at the church in Santian and they had three children. During the days she worked in the fields and at night she worked as a seamstress. Her husband and brother passed away in October 1967 in a construction accident in Switzerland. She cared for her three young children and worked in the family’s fields, growing, raising and making everything they needed to survive. She grew vegetables, olives, grapes and wheat, sold milk from their cow and raised meat from pigs, chickens and rabbits. She even made homemade polenta from raw wheat with a small hand crank machine. She also took on the role as the unofficial “nurse” of Santian, travelling to other people’s homes to administer shots and help care for others.
Pasquarella was also an accomplished seamstress. She hand-crocheted beautiful traditional Italian blankets and tablecloths, often working many years on one piece. These works of art are treasured by her children for their beauty, craftsmanship and dedication. She was also a passionate gardener. Her children still grow seeds from her plants to this day.
Pasqua was the epitome of strong. She worked hard to take care of her family and her community. She touched so many lives with her kindness, wit and humor and will always be remembered. She was an inspiration to those lucky enough to know her love and wisdom. She will be remembered by her three children, Josephine (Renato), Dominick (Julie) and Luigi; as well as her grandchildren, Rosalynn (Jamie), Anthony, Antonio (Nicole), Pasqua “Paula”, Francesca, Michael, Lauren and Lucas; and her three great-grandchildren, Kaiden, Cecilia Josephine and Christian.
More than anything, Pasqua loved Italy and she loved Santian, a place she called her home for 90 years of her life. When she gets to heaven, I hope it looks like Santian. Te vogliamo tanto bene, Nonna.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 9th at 1pm at St. Luke’s Church on 1241 State St, Schenectady. Visiting hours will be from 10-12 pm at DeMarco-Stone Funeral Home 1605 Helderberg Ave., Rotterdam. In lieu of flowers, contributions to support the church in San Giovanni e Paolo, Italy can be sent in care to Josephine De Filippo at 346 Hewitt Drive, Schenectady, NY 12306.