Teresa “Terry” Baratieri passed away peacefully on June 24, 2022, at the age of ninety-three. Born January 3, 1929, in New York City, Terry was the youngest of six children raised by Ferdinando and Fortunata La Marca on 107th Street (pronounced “a hun seven”) in East Harlem.
Her father, who emigrated from Palermo Italy as an orphan, eventually purchased and managed two buildings. He was a strong believer in education, reading Dante in his spare time and pushing his children in school. Terry always spoke proudly about her eldest sister Annichia (“Ann”) who, with her parents urging and support, became a doctor. After Ferdinando’s early passing when Terry was only sixteen, Fortunata took responsibility for the buildings and the family. The last child at home and an ever-dutiful daughter, Terry helped manage the buildings and recalled spending many cold evenings shoveling coal into the basement boiler, singing loudly to scare away the rats.
Terry pursued a career as a bank teller at Chemical Bank on the upper West Side of Manhattan. She was diligent and enjoyed dealing with numbers and finances: her clients loved her and would specifically ask for her. She was proud of having been promoted to manager after a few years and often recalled the challenges of managing a young man who had difficulty accepting a female boss. Not known for her punctuality, Terry recalled telling her manager that she would forgo her raise if she could continue to come in late every day.
Terry moved to Hering Avenue in the Morris Park Avenue neighborhood of the Bronx when her mother was forced to sell the buildings to the city through eminent domain in the 1950s. She married Livio “Lee” Baratieri (d. 2015) in 1957 with whom she had three children (Angela, Marc (d. 1961), and Janine). In addition to raising her children and continuing her father’s strong focus on education, she enjoyed working with children both as a volunteer tutoring elementary school students and spending time with her four grandchildren: Natalie and David Ewing and Stefani and Christopher Francisco whom she doted on with an abundance of presents from her favorite mail order catalogs.
Despite her deep attachment to home, she was a proud traveler, visiting California, Italy, Hong Kong, and China where she dipped her feet in the South China Sea. She also enjoyed old movies and “games of chance” during frequent trips to Atlantic City with Lee and making the odd bet on the ponies or a scratch off. For these diversions she would rely on her nephew Joseph Martino for daily calls where he served as her movie guide and sometime bookie.
Terry was fiercely independent and lived at Hering Avenue with the help of Janine and her supportive neighbors until her passing. She is survived by her daughters and their husbands, her grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
A wake will be held at Joseph A. Lucchese Funeral Home, 726 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx from 5-8pm on Wednesday, June 29. Mass of Christian Burial will take place at St. Clare of Assisi Church, 1908 Paulding Avenue, Bronx at 10am on Thursday, June 30. In lieu of gifts or flowers, please consider a donation in her name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
My heart is heavy as I write this, and I have not been able to stop crying.
I have known Terry for 62 years. I write this both for myself and for my mother, who suffers from dementia. I know she would be grieving with me if she were still able to understand what is going on around her.
Terry has been “Terry next door” since my family moved to Hering Avenue when I was a child so many years ago. I grew up with Angela and Janine and considered them my sisters. I spent many good times at Terry’s home with her large family. Over the years I kept in touch with Terry and saw her often when I visited my parents. I remember her always watering her plants and taking care of her garden during the summer. Her smile and her laugh were infectious. As time went on, my father passed away. After her beloved Lee also passed, Terry enjoyed coming out with us to eat and we spent fun times at places such as the Westchester Broadway Theatre in Elmsford. She also joined me, my mother and another good friend at community theatre performances in Yonkers and Harrison.
Terry loved my mother and often referred to her as “my sister…we’re like sisters, you and I.” During the terrible time of COVID, she was always willing to speak to my mother when I needed help because my mother was agitated. I called her almost every day and she would say, “Do you think I calmed her down? Call me again, Nina, if you need me.” Never once did she refuse to help me, and that support got me through some very tough times.
Most recently, when she was hospitalized and then went to rehab, I was able to speak with her one last time. She said, “Nina, I want to come home. You have to have a BIG party for me when I come home!” I assured her everyone was waiting for her to return home and we would have a big celebration when she did.
Now, I find myself unable to believe she is gone. I can still hear her voice as she tried to jog my mother’s memories by reminding her how I used to play with her daughters years ago. “I’m going to come over and see you soon; will you let me in? We’ll have coffee together. Oh, how I wish we could turn back the clock! Don’t forget me! We’re like sisters, you and I!”
To Janine and Angela and their families, I express my sincerest condolences for your loss.
And, Terry, my dear friend, I hope you are happy in Heaven (because I know you are there). I hope you have been reunited with Lee and everyone else you have been missing since they left this earth. Thank you for the lifetime of love, your abundant kindness and the wonderful memories of you I will always treasure. And I owe you a BIG party.
Dear Janine, Dino, and family.
We are both so sorry to hear of you mom’s passing. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful testimonial to your mom’s life.
We wish we can be there but we will be thinking of you all and keeping you in our prayers.
Ray and Marcel
I just received the sad news of Terry’s passing, and I am heartbroken. Janine, your wonderful obituary is such a gift to all who read it. Terry was very modest and never would speak about her many accomplishments, and all she could handle at one time. Instead, she always wanted to hear about everyone else’s proficiency.
Terry and I shared a love for telephone “visits” and could chat for hours, always being aware of the love we had for each
other and all the news of our families. Although we always said that we “must do this more often,” it was many months
between phone calls, but each one was memorable, and we could always look forward to our next one. I love you, and I’ll miss you.
Loving you always,