Cover photo for Anna Marie Matteucci's Obituary
1923 Anna Marie 2024

Anna Marie Matteucci

January 24, 1923 — April 21, 2024

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Anna Marie D. Matteucci (née Barry) died suddenly on Sunday, April 21, 2024, with her family around her. She had lived a glorious and vibrant 101 years, positive and inspiring even on the day she was admitted to the hospital. 

Anna Marie was born on January 24, 1923, in Mauch Chunk, PA, now Jim Thorpe.  Her family moved to Germantown when she was in 5th grade and she later attended Little Flower High School. She received her RN from St. Mary’s Hospital, Philadelphia, and enlisted in the Army during World War II. Stationed at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. and Fort Belvoir in Virginia, she developed lifelong friendships with a core group of nurses with whom she shared the difficult work of caring for the war wounded. After the war, Anna Marie returned to Philadelphia and worked as a nurse at Doctor’s Hospital.  There, a handsome young Italian doctor, Walter V. Matteucci, caught her eye, and soon they were dating. On November 19, 1949, Walter and Anna Marie were married. In 1950, they welcomed their first daughter, Joanne, and then Barbara in 1952. After Walter completed a residency in Wabash, Indiana, their family moved back to Philadelphia, eventually settling in Wyndmoor in 1956, the home in which Anna Marie has lived to this day. As Walter built his practice at Chestnut Hill Hospital, working weekends, some nights, and making housecalls, Anna Marie ran a tight ship at home. She also evolved from her Irish “Italian” cooking with Chef Boyardee (no offense to any Irish) to her eventual status as a true gourmet cook. She cherished the roles of mother and doctor’s wife. Eventually, when the need presented itself, she assumed the role of Office Manager for Walter, where her efficiency, charm, and positivity shone through. The secretaries of those days remain her family to this day. One of them, a dear friend, remarked “She was the wind beneath our wings!”

Walter and Anna Marie loved to travel, taking in places such as Europe, Russia, Great Britain, Alaska, and Mexico. Joanne’s decision to live in England afforded many opportunities to travel there, and later, to Joanne’s home in Burgundy, France.

In the 1990’s, Anna Marie’s greatest roles in life emerged. In 1991, Walter and Anna Marie were blessed with their first grandchild, Madelena, followed by Claudia in 1994. Anna Marie was a constant presence and participant in their lives, cherishing and celebrating being a grandmother.  Tragically, Walter suffered a devastating stroke in 1995, necessitating significant rehab and resulting in marked disability. Such a setback could have been crippling for a man of Walter’s intellect and pride, but in his case, he had an indomitable force behind him – Anna Marie. Her positivity, strength, and devotion to him allowed Walter to strive to attain his fullest life, still traveling, pursuing intellectual interests and the arts, and being the best “Papu” to his granddaughters for the next 15 years. 

After Walter’s death in 2009, Anna Marie’s life remained rich and expanding through her essential role in the lives of Madelena and Claudia, as well as those of Barbara and “son” John. Lunches, movies, and excursions with Barbara were weekly routines and are already missed terribly. Anna Marie was always ready to participate; Claudia recalled that one of her favorite phrases is “I’ll be there with bells on!” Her life was filled with family, friends, avid reading, sneaking chocolates, and never forgetting a birthday or special event. A loyal patron of her local library, it was an accepted secret that she was occasionally bumped up in the waiting list for a book, in deference to her centenarian status. To the last day of her life, she never waited for an invitation to lunch or dinner, but actively planned those events. 

Forces in 2019-2022 seemed to conspire against her reaching 100.  A house burglary in 2019 deprived her of all the beautiful jewelry gifted by Walter over the years. A freak mini tornado in 2020 lifted a neighbor’s huge tree which crashed solely into her house, destroying the front rooms. In two separate occasions in 2022, she fell and fractured a hip, requiring replacement and long rehabs.  And still she persisted.  She beat the odds, as usual, with a healthy dose of Irish grit and spirit, and an iron will to be her own person. We are forever indebted to her team of caregivers over the last two years, Linda, Michelle and Shanese, and to her beloved companion of 12 years, Leila, who together kept her safe and thriving, able to live her fullest.

Anna Marie welcomed Madelena’s husband Thomas with open arms in 2019, and was looking forward to finally getting an Irishman in the family with Claudia’s fiancé, Graden. On her final day, she was too short of breath to start her daily Inquirer crossword puzzle, but not too rushed to put on her red lipstick before leaving for the ER dressed to the T. After being stabilized on oxygen, she charmed the staff in the ER, and everyone knew she was a nurse (and Barbara a doctor) by the time her family arrived.  She complimented the ICU doctor on her nail polish, and was happy when Leila brought her glasses and eyebrow pencil to the ICU. She told Claudia she couldn’t wait to see her at Claudia’s Bridal Shower this week, and her eyes sparkled when she saw that her long awaited dinner had strawberry ice cream for dessert. We each kissed her and said I love you, we thought, just for the night.

To all who know and love her, and were loved and cherished by her, she is an inspiration, always the consummate lady, an example of fierce loyalty, determination, love of life and pursuit of excellence.  Most of all, to her beloved and heartbroken family, she is the most wonderful mother and grandmother we could ever imagine. We love her and miss her so much, but carry her forever in our hearts. 

Anna Marie is predeceased by Walter and daughter Joanne (Matteucci) Cottee, and survived by daughter Barbara (John Rizzo), Granddaughters Madelena Rizzo (Thomas Fernandez) and Claudia Rizzo (fiancé Graden Foley), and brother, William A. Barry, Sr.

Funeral Services will be on Friday, May 3, 2024, at Our Mother of Consolation Church, with visitation from 10:00-11:00 AM followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM. Burial will follow in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery.  Donations can be made in her name to the Friends of the Free Library of Springfield Township (https:www.friendsofflst.org) or The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters, Convent of Divine Love, 2212 Green Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19130-3197, or to a charity of your choice. 

 

      

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Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, May 3, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Friday, May 3, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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Interment

Friday, May 3, 2024

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