Josephine Ann DiLorenzo, nee Spina, 79, died on Sunday, July 17 of numerous complications from cardiac surgery performed at Mercy Fairfield.
Ms. DiLorenzo was born in New York City and grew up in Harlem as part of a large, loving, vibrant Italian-American family. She attended New York City public schools and Julia Richman High School in Greenwich Village. She shared many stories about the rich intellectual community and diverse student body, some of whom arrived in limos, others by subway. Her father was transferred to Cheektowaga, NY her junior year and Ms. DiLorenzo graduated from Cheektowaga High School in 1960. Upon graduation, she returned immediately to New York City, which she always considered her home, to live with her beloved grandmother Angelina Arra.
While working for the Bell Telephone Company in Manhattan she met Michael DiLorenzo, then a Columbia University student, at a social club on the upper west side. After a swift, fun-filled courtship in New York City, Michael and JoAnn married and started a family. They had three children, Anthony, JoAnn, and Debra. Ms. DiLorenzo returned to the workforce in the late 1970s and worked in finance for small businesses and educational and governmental institutions.
Ms. DiLorenzo (known as Nonni to her grandchildren) loved music, theater, sports, playing cards and, most of all, spending time with family and friends and sharing food, stories, and her infectious laugh. As a single working parent in the 1970s, Ms. DiLorenzo competed in the Working Women's Tennis League in Cincinnati. A fierce competitor, she was league champion in singles and doubles for several years. She taught her three children how to play – and love – the game, and taught tennis lessons to children for many summers at Wildwood Country Club. Ms. DiLorenzo used tennis to teach life lessons to young people, among them that hustle beats talent on the court and in life, that struggles always lead to peaks, and taking yourself too seriously can ruin your game.
Though times were tough and money was tight, Ms. DiLorenzo treated her children to local theater, including the Taft and Playhouse in the Park among others. She also returned with her children to New York City regularly to visit family and take part in cultural activities. In her later years, she traveled the country and world with her children and grandchildren. Her adventurous and competitive spirit persisted. At the age of 75 she took surfing lessons on Poipu Beach with her granddaughters and, while her children slept, partied long past midnight with her grandchildren on New Year’s Eve. It is the greatest understatement to say she was deeply beloved by her ten grandchildren. She had the rare gift of making everyone feel immensely special and loved and each of her grandchildren is certain they are Nonni’s favorite.
Ms. DiLorenzo leaves a large and loving circle of friends. Friends were like family to her and she shared with her children many hilarious and heart-felt stories of her exploits at discos, concerts, card games, and road trips with her friends. Of special note are Maryann Bianco, Babb Radlove, and Linda and Jack Anzilone, who cared for her and brought her hope and comfort during her trying final days in Mercy Fairfield.
Ms. DiLorenzo is preceded in death by her parents, Salvatore and Concettina Spina, and her beloved brother, Louis Spina. She is survived by her three children Anthony DiLorenzo (Rachael), Jo (Lise) Glading-DiLorenzo, and Debra DiLorenzo; her ten grandchildren, Zach, Nick, (Joseph) Brock and Mia Gorman, Lily and Sophie Glading-DiLorenzo and Hannah Rome; Amy, Rocco and Theo DiLorenzo; and her brother Frank Spina.
Ms. DiLorenzo died at home and received last rites before passing. She was cremated per her wishes and will be interred at a family plot in New York City with her brother Louis and her grandmother Angelina. Family and friends are invited to gather at 4 pm on Sunday, July 31, 2022 at Ms. DiLorenzo’s home, 8320 Leisure Drive, Centerville, OH.