In loving memory of Florence Gertrude De Stefano (nee Bahr). Devoted wife of the late Paul Anthony De Stefano. Beloved mother of 7: Marie, Anthony, Richard (John) and his wife Elena (nee Beletskaya), Thomas and his wife Sheryl (nee Weinstein), Andrew and his wife Sally (nee Skalamera), Paul and his wife Beth (nee Peterson), and Suzanne Docimo (nee De Stefano) and her husband Rocco (Rick). Loving Nana/ Grandmom/ Grammy of 18, great grandmother of 30, and great-great grandmother of 2. Florence passed away peacefully on December 2nd in the comfort of her own home at the age of 92.
Florence was born on August 15, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York to Florence Bahr (nee Markert) and Thomas Bahr. She spent most of her childhood in the Gerritsen Beach neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. At the age of 19, she went to Florida where she entered St. Joseph’s convent in St. Augustine, but she later decided to pursue another path and returned to New York. She eventually settled in New Jersey after marrying the love of her life, Paul, and they celebrated 44 years of marriage. She proudly attended Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) and received a BA in Education when she was in her 40’s. She also learned to drive in her 40’s, which she loved to do. She taught elementary school while in the convent and continued to teach in Barrington, NJ and Gloucester Township, NJ. She was also proud to teach CCD for St. Gregory’s Church in Somerdale, NJ. She was patient, forgiving, and kind. She had 7 children for whom she and Paul provided a home full of warmth and unconditional love. The highlight of her days, until the very end, was spending time with her family. Nothing was more important to her than God and her family. And although her family grew and grew, each and every one of them held such a special place in her heart.
Florence was pure light. She woke up each day with a smile - a smile that warmed your soul. She preached love, forgiveness, and compassion. She lived her life devoted to her religion, and in retirement, spent her free time volunteering to provide communion to the sick and elderly with St. Charles Borromeo Church in Turnersville, NJ, and Camden County Health Services in Lakeland, NJ . She participated in Bible study and held closely onto her faith and the word of the Lord.
Every year at Christmas time the entire family could not wait to get a bite of her famous pizzelle cookies, or sit next to her at the piano as she played. She loved reading her mystery novels on her tablet into the late hours of the night surrounded by her collection of lighthouses. You could often find her curled up on her recliner with a hot cup of tea watching her favorite TV shows. She loved getting together for tea and Chinese food with her close-knit group of girlfriends. She enjoyed art in all capacities from painting, to books, to music, to playing piano, to tap dancing.
Though her time on Earth will never be enough, she was looking forward to the day when she would get to reunite with her one true love, Paul. After 23 years without him, she is in his loving arms again in heaven.
She was beautiful. She was warm. She was grateful, happy, and kind. She was all those things and more. Even at the end, she would always smile and laugh. Her heart burst with pride, gratitude, and most importantly, love for her family. She was everything we all hope to be. There will not be enough words to encapsulate all that she was and how deeply she will be missed. In the end she said to her family, “I will always love you, and pray for you”. Heaven gained the brightest angel. Until we meet again.
There will be a mass at St. Charles Borromeo Church in Turnersville, NJ, and a Celebration of Life once the COVID 19 pandemic has passed and we can all gather safely. It was her wish that her entire family attend the mass and after a Celebration of Life luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, her family is asking to donate to HPH Hospice, 12260 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, Florida 34613.