- Ida L. Emma, 93, of Verona, NJ passed away peacefully in the loving embrace of her family on September 5 at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack.
Ida was born in Newark to Francis LaPorta and Eduardina DeLuca from Sicily. Her parents named her Agata after her grandmother, but due to the Sicilian pronunciation of her name, “Ayata,” she became known as “Ida” the rest of her life.
Ida and her sister Mary lost their parents young and were raised by their godparents, affectionately, known as Mamato and Zizi. Ida attended Central High School where she was voted “best looking” and “best personality” in her senior class. As a teenager, she played the role of chaperone for Mary and her fiancé Jepp, along with Jepp’s brother, Paul. Although both she and Paul shared Sicilian heritage and lived in the same three-family house, they were as different as oil and vinegar. Ida used to say, “I couldn’t stand him.” But as the yearS went by, she and Paul fell in love and married on September 12, 1953.
Ida was an active lady. She briefly modeled after high school then went to work at Prudential, where she was the face of the company for visitors. She skied, loved to dance, played tennis and bridge and joined a bowling league where she earned the nickname “Sally Spare.” For years she worked one day a week as a receptionist for Dr. Mervin Olinger in Verona – a job she loved, and for which her husband Paul called her “Mary Worth,” a character from a 1970s cartoon strip about a businesswoman. As a parishioner of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Verona, Ida served as a Eucharistic minister and volunteered at St. John’s Soup Kitchen in Newark.
Despite her many activities, the center of Ida’s life was her home, her husband Paul and the four boys she and Paul raised together. Ida was devoted to her family and had a special and different relationship with each of her sons, who she loved beyond measure. And her heart only seemed to grow as four daughters-in-law, 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren were added to the mix. There was nothing like a Sunday or holiday dinner with the whole family at Ida & Paul’s. What a cook Ida was! She seemed to have boundless culinary energy – and afterwards would treat the grand- and great-grandkids to tea, letting each pick their favorite tea cup. She built a lifetime of memories for the people around her.
Ida was predeceased by her parents, beloved sister, Marie L. Emma, brothers-in-law, Jasper “Jepp” and Rossand sisters-in-law, Lee and Joan. She is survived by her loving husband of 69 years, Paul F. Emma; children, Mark (Paula), Steve (Geri), David (Evelyn), and Paul (Debbie); 11 grandchildren – Cathy, Jessie, Danny, Doug, Julie, Ryan, Kate, Jamie, Max, Madison and James;13 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held at Prout Funeral Home, 370 Bloomfield Ave., Verona, on Thursday, September 8 from 5-8 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be offered at Our Lady of the Lake Church, Lakeside Ave., Verona on Friday, September 9 at 10 a.m. Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover.
Flowers are welcome by the family. In lieu of flowers, the family also welcomes a donation to the Our Lady of the Lake Endowment Fund, 22 Lakeside Ave., Verona, NJ 07044 or to St. John’s Soup Kitchen, P. O. Box 200147, Newark, NJ 07102 (www.njsk.org).
Condolences may be left at www.proutfuneralhome.com.