Margaret Pinelli DiMuccio has been amazing people for all of her 105 years
To this day, for example, her granddaughter’s husband George Arakelian still marvels of DiMuccio’s unique story of never – ever – having a license to drive an automobile.
“When I started dating my wife [Gina Sabitoni Arakelian] 36 years ago, I couldn’t believe she didn’t drive,” said Arakelian noting that’s also the amount of time the Johnston couple has been married. “We have to remember, though, life was much, much simpler back then.”
Even on Monday afternoon inside the jam-packed West Shore Health Center Community Room where Mayor Joseph J. Solomon proclaimed September 30, 2019 as Margaret DiMuccio Day in Warwick he told an applauding audience: “This is one mighty amazing lady.”
Solomon, in fact, was surprised when the Health Center’s Admission Coordinator Patricia Sova said with a special smile on her face: “Margaret has seven children, 17 grandchildren and 41 great grandchildren.”
During his visit that included Solomon presenting DiMuccio with an official City of Warwick Citation, the Mayor gave the day’s guest of honor his personal business card and offered: “If I can ever help you, please call me.”
Much to Solomon’s amazement, she quickly replied – while holding the citation – and smiling: “Thank you Mayor, I will call you!”
There were many more amazing moments for the West Shore Health Center’s oldest resident, including Sunday’s special birthday celebration held in the courtyard replete with a cake and cards aplenty from her immediate family.
Margaret Pinelli DiMuccio was born in Providence on Sept. 30, 1914 and married John B. DiMuccio in 1934. She lived in the Knightsville section of Cranston for 75 years before moving in with her daughter Sandra Frazee prior to taking up residence at the West Shore health Center in April of 2017.
She and her husband had seven children – five girls and two boys – and as Frazee said Sunday: “She was a mother and housewife who enjoyed cooking…everything Italian, of course, and baking.”
DiMuccio, though, was much, much more and as people like her daughter and granddaughter Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian were saying Sunday: “You could say mom was an accomplished pastry chef, pioneer as well as an author.”
“She loved making cakes … birthday cakes, wedding cakes … even anniversary cakes for members of her family as well as her close friends,” Frazee said as Sabitoni-Arakelian added: “They were always classic cakes and delicious, too!”
Approximately 42 years ago, DiMuccio turned pioneer.
“Mom was among the very first people to participate in the Cranston Senior Companion Program,” Frazee noted. “She volunteered until she was 80 and loved every minute of helping make people feel good – again – about life.”
Frazee, with her brother Michael DiMuccio looking on, also explained “that mom is very proud of spending lots of time volunteering for the Companion Program; I know, I drove her every where!”
When asked about the “author”
“Mom wasn’t a writer or author,” Frazee further explained. “She came from a family of nine children – six boys and three girls – that lived on a farm off Plainfield Street and they were poor.”
Which meant, especially at Christmas as Frazee related, “There often wouldn’t be any gifts under the tree?”
“But back when mom was a little girl, she wrote about what she called a Miracle at Christmas that she intended – as we discovered when we actually found and read he story – mom intended to keep it secret until she passed.”
The story, which DiMuccio wrote in long-hand on yellow pieces of lined paper was later given to a family friend who had it printed and turned into a hard-cover children’s like book, is based upon one Christmas Eve during what Frazee said “was a blizzard and that further upheld the feeling that the children wouldn’t have any gifts, etc.”
Frazee related that her mom’s family heard a noise as if someone was going to break into their home.
“Her father grabbed his shot gun,” Frazee continued. “As the noise became closer and closer, he could see someone trudging through the snow carrying a sack or bag … it turned out that the children’s God Father wanted to make sure the DiMuccio children would have a Christmas.”
Frazee, as well as her other brothers and sisters, said “we’re glad we found the story. That happened during mom’s transitioning to the West Shore Health Center. As I said, she wrote it and intended it only to be read when she passed. Thank goodness we found it; it’s such a beautiful story.”
And, as her granddaughter Sabitoni-Arakelian offered Sunday: “It speaks volumes about the wonderful and beautiful person my Nana is today. We all love her dearly. Her life’s story is amazing, that’s for sure!”