Loretta Alice Tarquinio (nee D'Orazio) died peacefully of natural causes on February 23, 2023. A lifelong resident of McKees Rocks, she was born on August 28, 1924 to Mario and Pauline D’Orazio. A gifted storyteller, she recounted tales of growing up during the Great Depression and World War II in Sto-Rox, where she loved spending time with her siblings and in her father’s barbershop. In 1946 she married John Tarquinio, with whom she had two daughters. A meticulous homekeeper, she said she was happiest with her hands in a sinkful of warm soapy water, doing the dishes after cooking for her family. Her multi-course holiday meals were legendary, often featuring lasagna made with homemade sheets of pasta that she hand-rolled and air dried hanging over a clothesline.
After the death of her husband in 1973, she embarked upon a new life as a career woman. She worked in customer service and claims adjustment for several department stores, including Gimbels, Horne’s, and Macy’s. She took great pride in her work and loved leaving the office on a Friday evening knowing that she had “cleared her desk” of projects for the week. After her retirement, she poured her heart and soul into caring for her family, contributing to the care of her parents and three sisters (Eleanor, Evelyn and Norma Jean) who preceded her in passing.
Her most cherished role was as a grandmother to her three grandchildren, who referred to her as Gram. Weekends at Gram’s were full of playing card games, working on puzzles, taking walks, and laughing. On Saturday mornings, she instructed “her kids” to stay in bed until they could smell bacon cooking. Coming down the stairs, with the smell of coffee and bacon permeating the air, they would find her joyfully dancing the polka with a broom in the kitchen as she prepared breakfast.
Having lived beyond the age of 98, Loretta was preceded in death by many beloved family members, friends and neighbors. We imagine they are having an incredible reunion in heaven with deep belly laughs and tables overflowing with delicious Italian food. She is survived by her daughters, Marie and Loretta Ann; her sons-in-law, Tom and John; her grandchildren, Stephanie (Glen), Tommy (Kristen) and Michael; her youngest sister, Marian; and many cherished nieces and nephews and their families.