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IN HONOR OF MARGARET BARBAGALLO
© 2004 Ron Barbagallo
At Morel's French Steakhouse, The Grove, Los Angeles August 30, 2004
Margaret Salone Barbagallo was born on lower east side of Manhattan on October 5, 1929. The middle of three daughters Marge was a second generation American born to (Anna) Nunziana Castro Salone (born 1906 on the Bowery) and (Joseph) Guisappe Salone, who owned the Common Real Estate Company on Nassau Street near Chambers (just east of what is now the World Trade Center).
The 1930’s brought hard times to New Yorkers, and the Salone family was not immune. All three daughters ended up spending time in an orphanage during the depths of the Great Depression and remained there until their now-single parent Anna could get a job as a sweatshop seamstress and afford to take them back. With the family reunited, Marge and her sisters Eleanor and Josie all entered the NYC public school system.
Like many on the lower east side, Marge spent her summers at a day camp established through the Five Points Mission called Cornwall-On-Hudson. It was here, at age 11, she met her future husband Leo, who like she was trying to use the other to make someone else jealous. That didn’t happen and the two went on to have a relationship, envied by many, which lasted over 61 years.
Marge attended Seward Park High School, where her best friend Marie date Bernie Schwartz, a kid who later moved to Hollywood and changed his name to Tony Curtis. World War Two was in full swing, on both war fronts, and the sounds of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman could be heard everywhere. Marge got engaged to Leo before she (or he) graduated high school and, after he returned from his tour of duty in the Pacific, were married on January 18, 1948. The ceremony took place at the Transfiguration RCC on Mott Street. This is the same church where they were baptized, where both their parents were married and where her maternal Grandfather had built the pews.
Marge and Leo lived in Manhattan for over a decade, but when Marge became pregnant in 1959 with twins Lori and Ron, the family moved to Bayonne, New Jersey. Two and a half years later Marge and Leo had their child, Terri. Leo soon made the transition from designing parts for toys to a career as a design engineer whose work would include the Mercury and Saturn Five Space missions. During her lifetime, Marge developed a love for travel, and an even greater love of literature and history. She was particularly interested in stories regarding the American Revolution, the Civil War and both World Wars. Despite her blue-collar urban roots, she was a die hard Republican, campaigning for Ronald Reagan on numerous occasions in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. In recent years she worked the polls on Election Day.
Marge had many jobs, including working in a chocolate store, but her favorite was working as a full time temp for the Port Authority of NY/NJ at the World Trade Center, a position she held for nearly ten years. Working mostly in Tower One, one of her many responsibilities was to file contracts for the continuing maintenance of the WTC complex. Marge missed the 1993 bombing on the WTC due to being at home with a cold but after taking a sabbatical to be home with her husband during the last months of his life was on her way in to the office on September 11, 2001 to ask to return to work. She was so affected by the events of 9/11 that she spent many months at the site handing out sandwiches and coffee to the fire workers.
Within weeks of 9/11 Marge flew to Los Angeles to visit her son and started a unique and new routine for her -- 'doing' lunch with Hollywood studio executives. During the course of her visits, Marge found herself treated her like a celebrity, touring studio soundstages, archives and lunching in executive dining rooms. Her pure spunk and straight-from-the hip honesty made her as well-liked in Los Angeles as she was in New York.
Marge Barbagallo passed away on October 17, 2004 from complications that occurred during open-heart surgery. Anyone who knew Marge knew how much she enjoyed life. They also knew how much she enjoyed her sisters Josie and Eleanor and her Mother Anna and all of her friends including Terry, Janey, Bruce, and all of her Port Authority colleagues.
They also knew how much she enjoyed the Barbagallo family's longstanding friendship with the Scofield family. But most of all, they knew how much Marge treasured the special relationship she had with Leo, her husband of 53 years, and being a mother to her three children.
Mom wearing the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter film series along with her trademark rhinestone eyeglasses. Picture taken at the Warner Bros. Museum on September 2, 2004.
October 5, 1929 – October 17, 2004
A MEMORIAL MASS is planned for:
11am on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2004 at:
ST. JOSEPH’s RCC 5
5 Monroe Street
Manhattan, NY 10002
Lunch will be held immediately afterwards at: L’Allegria Ristorante & Trattoria Italiana
623 Ninth Avenue (at 44th Street)
Vanella’s funeral home is making the arrangements.
For information, call (212) 267-4522.
There will be NO wake -- so please do NOT send any flowers to Vanella’s.
The church will ONLY accept BASKETS of flowers delivered to the church on the day of the service.
In lieu of flowers, a charitable donation can be made to The Five Points Mission or you may want to sponsor a Cornwall-0n-Hudson summer camper.
For information please call April Callender, Five Points Director, at (212) 870-3084 or send donations with “In Honor of Margaret Barbagallo” written in the memo section of the check to:
Five Points Mission Attention:
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115