It pleased Almighty God to call his daughter Mildred of Altoona home on Monday, freeing her from the bonds of a severe aortic valve stenosis.
She was born in Altoona, daughter of the late Giuseppe and Rose (Fenelli) Ruscito. She married Anthony Louis Germano on Dec. 30, 1939, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Altoona, where she remained a parishioner until her passing.
Surviving are two daughters: Anthea Germano and Carole Mauk, both of Altoona; two grandchildren: Michael Mauk and Lee Ann Weigle and husband, Ricky; three great-grandchildren: Alicia Nicole Mauk, Maryssa Lynn Mauk and Anthony Edward Leap; several step-great-grandchildren; a sister, Mary DiNicola of Altoona; and several cousins, nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by a daughter, Ann; her husband, Anthony; two sisters: Elizabeth and Edith Ruscito; and a brother, John Ruscito.
During the course of her 101 years of life, Mildred was one of the first students to attend the new Roosevelt Junior High School in 1924. After attending Altoona High School, she worked for several organizations: Tritex Sportswear, Puritan Knitting Mill, Alpenna, Gable's Department Store, Vincent Horwitz, where she was a shoe inspector, and the Cut Rate Shoe Store, where she helped establish branch stores in Huntingdon, Lewistown and Tyrone. In the 1960s, she was a member of the Blair County Democratic Committee and the Buccinese Society Ladies Auxiliary.
She enjoyed her role as the family matriarch, raising, mentoring and guiding her family to love and respect God and America. She loved to make homemade ravioli and spaghetti and was well known throughout the realm for her famous meatballs, pasta e fagioli, braciole and Easter egg bread. Her door was always open, and she made welcome the many friends and acquaintances of her family members to the point of making them an extended family.
Over the years, Mildred credited her wonderful physicians, Drs. Christine Pasqual, Hany F. Shanoudy and Robert E. Budd, for their roles in enabling her to live an active, productive life. More recently, she was tenderly and expertly cared for by both the Home Nursing Agency Home Health and Hospice staff, along with the good and caring people of the Chestnut Avenue Rite Aid Pharmacy in Altoona, the Altoona Professional Hearing Aid Center and Griswold Home Care.
At her 100th birthday celebration in October 2011, a letter of congratulations from President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama was read, along with a letter from Congressman Bill Shuster and citations from the Senate of Pennsylvania and the House of Representatives, courtesy of Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. and Rep. Richard A. Geist. At the conclusion of the presentations, family and friends came forward to pay homage to a woman who had a profound and positive influence on their lives. At the celebration, Mildred was asked what words of wisdom she would pass along to the young generation of today.
"In my youth, we shared and learned. We had to grope and make our way up. We made the path for the kids of today. My advice to them is to be truthful, good and patient. Listen to your mother and father and be kind and friendly to one another. Help people and be there when you're needed. Above all, do the right things. Do what comes from God."
Friends and family will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Santella Funeral Home. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 14, 2013, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church. Committal will be held at Calvary Cemetery, Altoona.
Donations on behalf of Mildred may be made to Home Nursing Agency Hospice.