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Alice F. LaCivita

Alice F. LaCivita

Nov 20, 1925 - Apr 25, 2022

Alice F. LaCivita - Obituary


lice LaCivita was born on November 20, 1925, in Wickliffe, Ohio, the fifth of six children to Frank and Laura Fatica. She was the youngest child for 5 years, until her brother Charlie was born. Since both her parents worked, she cared for him like a mother until he went to school, forming a deep bond that lasted until his death two years ago. Alice grew up on a block of Rockefeller Road, where all the families on the block immigrated during the early part of the twentieth century on the same ship in steerage, from the impoverished village of Oratino, Italy. Her parents and neighbors really did “stomp grapes” in Rockefeller vineyards along Lake Erie, then worked as laborers or mill workers. They made home-made pasta for their children, and watched over everyone else’s children, too. The children grew up, married after high school, got a house a few doors down, and raised their families in the sight of their parents, siblings, friends and neighbors. Although the atmosphere was lively, warm and loving, Alice wanted nothing more than to escape this Italian immigrant life. She made a point of speaking PERFECT English -- using advanced vocabulary. She defied her parents’ wishes and expectations and attended The Ohio State University. Emerging from college in the aftermath of World War II, Alice embarked on a number of teaching jobs in the hinterlands of Ohio. She met her husband, Emil Sr., on one stint in Oberlin, Ohio. They soon married, and moved back to Youngstown, and lived with Emil Sr.’s parents until Laurel was born. They built a tiny house on Indianola Road, in Boardman, Ohio, where they raised four children: Laurel, Amy, Lisa and Emil Jr. The house was so tiny, such that the much wealthier neighbors objected. They underestimated both Alice’s sense of grit and her sense of beauty. She landscaped the house, created flower beds and tended the apple, pear, cherry and plum trees that were planted during the days of Johnny Appleseed, and, generally, made the neighbors pick up their game. After Emil Jr. was born, Alice began her master’s degree studies in guidance and counseling at Kent State University. She graduated in 1965. She was the first one in her family to earn an undergraduate degree and the only one to earn a master’s degree. In 1965, the family moved to Oxon Hill, Maryland where both she and Emil Sr. joined the Prince George’s County public school system. She became a guidance counselor at Oxon Hill Senior High School, where she remained happily until her retirement in 1989. She was thrilled that Oxon Hill had a wonderful band, and she was a supporter of the band her entire life. In 1967, the family purchased her property in Tantallon, where they built Alice’s dream home. Again, as in Ohio, she created sumptuous gardens. She made her home a thing of beauty where every room was blue and every treasured object was chosen to reflect her sense of balance, proportion and artistry. Her mother visited, and finally approving her career choices, said, “I am so thankful that I lived to see this beautiful house!” During her children’s school years, Alice required each one to practice the piano one hour a day, and a second instrument one hour a day. The home was filled with music from the minute school was out until midnight. And, of course the children’s studies were strictly overseen. She made Sunday dinner: home-made pasta and home-made sauce, always. It was the center of our social life. She entertained guests weekly: usually, Mr. Jerome, our piano teacher, his family, and members of the Air Force Band. She delighted in entertaining neighbors, the Altos, the Vanderman’s, the Dullahan’s, and maintained deep friendships with them throughout her life. It was a great day when the Nassif’s moved in. We learned that some of Tom’s relatives lived in my paternal grandmother’s hometown, and Cristina was an opera singer. An opera singer! The occasion of their first Sunday dinner sparked an energetic round of housekeeping, a good pasta dinner, and a life-long friendship. After the kids were out of school, Alice took up tennis, often soundly beating men half her age! She was an honorary member of “the French Club,” a group of neighborhood women who came from myriad French-speaking countries in Europe and North Africa. She proudly entertained them frequently. She joined a bridge club, and entertained its members, all the while keeping up her beautiful yard. When she rested, it was under the sun: she loved getting a good suntan! From time to time, she picked up and spontaneously drove to Cleveland to visit family, or to Delaware to visit the Vanderman’s. “Where, oh where, is mom?” was an excellent question for a number of years! Through it all, she never missed Mass on Sunday until the pandemic. Ever quiet in her faith she prayed all day long while working in the yard or garden. For her 75th birthday, Alice enjoyed a cruise along the coast of Alaska, providing time with family, and friends, as well as a new and unexpected adventure. She also visited Italy with Callista (whom the family fondly refers to as “Mom’s favorite daughter”), and she even took Callista to meet our family in Oratino! It was the first trip to Italy for Callista, the future Ambassador to the Vatican, but the last of many trips to Italy for Alice. A favorite life-long passion was to listen to music performed by friends and family in their living rooms. At any gathering, she would seek out the musicians in the group, park herself in the chair closest to the piano and listen, enraptured, for hours. At the first signs of the music abating, regardless of the hour, she would implore them to continue in that authoritative voice that was so impossible to ignore. In her final years, she enjoyed observing the neighborhood watching out the front window, eating good food, watching M*A*S*H, playing with the cats, and was always game for any kind of social gathering. She was sorry to see some of her closest friends leave the neighborhood. The pandemic was especially difficult for her because she is, after all, the ultimate party girl. And, when reminded that she couldn’t go out to restaurants, or parties, or, even to Mass, because of “the virus,” she understood. She grew up, after all, before vaccines. In her final few months, Alice insisted on going out for daily rides, watching the trees, the sky, the birds, the sun, the sunsets, and exploring the natural beauty of her neighborhood, along the Potomac River, and all of Southern Maryland. Alice awoke every day with happiness and joy, a generous and creative spirit. In sum, she loved her family with her whole heart. She gave them everything she had, including a love of education, art, music and beauty. She taught through example, qualities of hospitality, generosity, compassion, and friendship. Almost up until the last minute, our treasured Alice LaCivita was raring to go, full of life, ready for the next adventure. Alice is survived by her daughters Laurel LaCivita, Lisa LaCivita, Amy LaCivita (Patrick Browne), and son Emil LaCivita Jr. (Nancy), her six grandchildren, Adam Flury (Mary), Ali Flury (Charlotte), Ben Flury (Laura), Taylor LaCivita, Spencer LaCivita, Kyle LaCivita, and three great grandchildren Anna, Levi and Brynn. A Memorial Mass will be offered on Monday, May 23, 2022 at 9:30am a.m. at St. John Evangelist, 8908 Old Branch Ave., Clinton, MD 20735. Inurnment at Resurrection Cemetery will follow the mass.