Loving brothers we are and will always be, Carmen and Dana Cicero, and our families sadly announce the death of our mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, neighbor and friend, Frances Cicero, at approximately 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, August 16, 2020. Mom’s “long-goodbye” came to a peaceful and silent end in the comfort of the home she and her late husband, our Dad, Carmen S. Cicero, built in Niles, Ohio as we and her family provided her with constant care and love. She passed away in the morning sunlight of a beautiful summer day much like the summer days she so thoroughly enjoyed throughout her 83 three years of life. She had battled non-cancerous meningioma for ten months shy of twenty years with courage and determination and hope even as it robbed her of her vast array of talents and skills as a wife, mother, homemaker and accomplished woman in the business world, each of and in which she enjoyed and excelled, one as much as the other.
“Fran”, as whom she was lovingly referred, was born on March 5, 1937 in Warren, Ohio to Samuel and Dahlia (Rossi) Toto, the second of two daughters and then two sons raised on Ann Street in Niles, Ohio. She received her education in the Niles City Schools and graduated from Niles McKinley High School in 1955. She was voted Homecoming Queen in the fall of her senior year. Following high school, she immediately entered the workforce and she had a wonderful career as an executive secretary and administrative assistant at Reactive Metals and later at Packard Electric (Delphi). She was a great employee and a faithful assistant throughout her long career, which was interrupted only by our births and early upbringing and the forced retirement at thirty years, by her illness.
Mindful that we are writing about our Mother, -- from childhood to the very end, our Mom was a classic and enduring beauty, filled with grace and charm, confident and proud, but not snobbish about her physical appearance, in fact, sometimes unnecessarily self-deprecating. She had style and grace beginning with the way she appeared, and the clothes she selected and wore, but just about every aspect of her persona including the way she treated and related to other people. She certainly caught our Dad’s attention and it stuck throughout their long love affair. She literally turned heads when she entered the room and he was so proud to identify as her “other-half.”
Mom and Dad were married at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church where they both received their religious upbringing as well as the sacraments of Baptism, Penance, First Communion, and Holy Matrimony. Lifelong members, they were wed there by their friend, the late Father Nicholas Arioli, C.PP.S., on August 8, 1964. It was a traditional Italian all-day celebration beginning with High Mass in the morning, followed by breakfast at her parents’ home, then a seven-course dinner in the afternoon, topped off with an evening banquet of great food, desserts, live orchestral music and dancing, all at the Bagnoli Iripino Hall on Mason Street. Mom and Dad loved to dance and they were accomplished ballroom dancers mastering the sometimes-complicated steps and the art of leading-by-following, which served them well as a couple throughout their married life. That love of life never really ended for Mom, even after Dad passed away on December 12, 2010. Neither of them was a shrinking violet, and they were tried and true examples of how addressing conflict can become the basis for lasting love. They loved life together and surrounded themselves by other like-minded people and fed off the energy that can create. Equal partners, they were active in their home and family-life, their work places and their community. They loved each other!
As brothers, we knew how spoiled but enriched we were by their unique brand of “unconditional” love, a phrase that is all too overly-used today and can easily be mistaken for appeasement, gratuitous coddling and undisciplined. The parental love we experienced and the way our Mom and Dad treated us was the same as they treated every single child who came to know them throughout their life together. Children are gifts from God to be loved and enjoyed, forgiven for their mistakes, and to be instilled with hope that is only truly nurtured by such love. We have benefitted from that very brand of love and we know that we can continue to live their example with each other, our own children and all children we have the pleasure of knowing.
Our Mother is survived by us, her sons and our wives and life partners and our children: Carmen and Jody (Castronova) Cicero of Niles and their children, Carly Cicero of Cleveland, and “CJ” Cicero of Columbus; and Dana Cicero and Lisa Edwards and their daughter, Mila, of Niles. She is survived by her Sister, Connie Gatta of Niles and her Brothers, Damian Toto of The Villages, Florida and by Pete and Yvonne Toto of Niles. She is survived by cousins and nieces and nephews, friends and neighbors, too numerous to mention lest we “break the bank” giving them the acknowledgement they so richly deserve and the high esteem and love which our Mother had for each of them. She is reunited with our Dad, her parents and parents-in-law, brothers-, sisters-in law, again too numerous to mention, each and every one holding a special place in her heart.
Always concerned about the welfare of others, our Mother would not want to be remembered as having allowed her memorial to cause anyone illness during the current global pandemic. We have chosen the following memorial for her under the careful planning of the Joseph Rossi and Sons Funeral Home in Niles: Friends may call from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday at The Joseph Rossi and Sons Funeral Home. Due to the current health situation, social distancing measures are expected to be observed and friends coming to pay respects to the family are kindly asked to promptly depart the funeral home after doing so. Facial coverings are mandatory please.
Funeral services will be private.
We wish to acknowledge and thank the medical and home healthcare professionals who provided our mother with the excellent loving care that allowed her to remain at peace and without pain in her own home and as she desired.
May we suggest the following as material contributions on behalf of our Mother: Hospice of The Valley, 979 Tibbetts- Wick Road, Girard, Ohio 44420 or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105.
Arrangements entrusted to The Joseph Rossi and Sons Funeral Home in Niles.
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