Josephine (Giuseppa) Iannuzzi, 90, formerly of the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh and more recently of Lower Burrell, died Friday, July 23, 2021, peacefully at the Oakmont Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation with her family by her side. "Nunni Pia," as she was so affectionately called by her grandchildren, was born July 16, 1931, in Porticello, Province of Palermo, Sicily. She was the only child of Nicola D'Aquisto and Rosalia Zizzo D'Aquisto. In search of a better life for his family, her father came to the United States and found a job. He saved the money he earned as a street vendor and was able to send for his wife and daughter to join him in Pittsburgh. At the age of 15, Josephine and her mother said goodbye to the only life they knew in Sicily and left Porticello August 19, 1946 and boarded the S.S. Marine Angel for the trip across the waters, leaving behind their entire extended family for a new life in the United States. Only being able to speak in their native Italian language, the small family assimilated and embraced their new surroundings. They made their home on Mulberry Way in the Strip District for many years. At the age of 27, she married Angelo "Tony" Iannuzzi in December of 1958. As a young Italian educated attorney, he left his parents and siblings in Italy, to come to the United States in search of his dream of prosperity. The newly married couple resided in Stanton Heights their entire married life until Tony passed in 2005. Nunni Pia devoted her life to taking care of her husband, her parents, children and grandchildren. She carried on old world traditions that she and her parents brought from Italy and passed them on to her children and grandchildren. She prided herself on preparing a feast each Sunday for her family and friends. Her dinners consisted of many courses and were always prepared to perfection. Sunday dinners promptly began at 1 p.m. and usually spanned the entire first half of the Steelers games. She always made much more food than was required and made sure that all her family and guests had plenty to take home. Nunni Pia and Nunno Tony replenished their tomato sauce supply each Labor Day weekend by canning at least 400-500 jars of sauce. The traditions of large Sunday gatherings and the annual canning of tomatoes are both carried on by her daughters and their families each year. Tony and Josephine took many trips back to Italy over the years and remained close to their Italian families in both Sicily and Salerno. She and her husband had no other immediate family members in this country except for Tony's late sister, Assunta "Caterina" Iannuzzi Mieri, whom they welcomed into their home when she came from Italy. Despite only having a small family in Pittsburgh, Josephine and Tony acquired countless friends that they considered family. Her family was her universe. She and her husband made sure that they found the means necessary to educate their daughters and watch Licia graduate from law school and become an attorney and Annamaria obtain her master’s degree in both psychology and elementary education and follow her dream to be an educator. To say that it was her way or no way would be an understatement. Her strong Sicilian personality left little room for negotiation. Josephine and Tony wanted to have the Hyatt Hotel to be the venue for their daughter Licia's wedding. They advised the management at the hotel that the only way that would occur is if Josephine would supply the sauce for the dinner. After much discussion, the hotel reluctantly agreed. When they planned Annamaria's wedding, the management at the hotel didn't even try to put up a fight. The sauce was brought in without question. After her beloved husband, Tony, died on October 1, 2005, she moved in with her daughter, Annamaria, and her family in Lower Burrell. She brought with her all of her customs and traditions including over 500 jars of her canned tomato sauce that she had on reserve at her house. She truly enjoyed this next adventure and being able to cook and clean in her new home. After her daily rituals of taking care of things around the house, her afternoons consisted of many phone calls to her Italian cousins in California and Sicily and spending countless hours watching the Italian TV station RAI. This new adventure in life gave her a renewed sense of purpose that she truly embraced. Nunni Pia had no greater joy than to watch her three grandchildren grow up and be such a big part of their daily lives. She also traveled with both of her daughters and their families to Canada, Arizona and Florida and enjoyed these new experiences. Covid-19 appeared to be no match for her strong Sicilian fortitude as she quickly overcame this deadly disease. She was determined to live her life as she wanted and be able to reunite with her family once the restrictions of visitation finally eased at the nursing home. She is survived by her daughter, Licia Iannuzzi Vaghetto and her husband, Sam Vaghetto, of O'hara Township; and also by her daughter, Annamaria Regoli and her husband, David Regoli, of Lower Burrell. Her grandchildren are Christina Vaghetto Wilson (William Wilson), Antonio Regoli and Isabella Regoli. The family is most appreciative of the outstanding care she has received over the last couple of years at the Oakmont Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and Heritage Hospice. As Josephine's health declined, she reverted back to only speaking Italian. The wonderful staff at Oakmont Center and Heritage Hospice always figured out what she was trying to communicate and took such wonderful care of her. For that we are forever grateful. Friends will be received from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in the GIUNTA-BERTUCCI FUNERAL HOME INC., 1509 Fifth Ave. Arnold, PA 15068, JohnPaul Bertucci owner/supervisor. A funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 28, at the St. Raphael Roman Catholic Church, 1118 Chislett St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206. Everyone please meet at the church. Burial will be at the Allegheny Cemetery Pittsburgh. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to the Alzheimer's Association 2835 E. Carson St., Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. To leave an online condolence, visit www.giunta-bertucci.com.
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