December 11, 1942 ~ August 12, 2012
Patricia Lee Ciardiello, 69, of Cheshire, formerly of Hamden, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday, August 12, 2012 at the Hospital of Saint Raphael, New Haven. Pat was born in Waterbury on December 11, 1942, daughter of the late Thomas and Antonette (Labriola) Lee. She graduated from Southern Connecticut State University where she received her bachelor's and master's degrees in education. Pat devoted 18 years to the Hamden Public School system as an elementary school teacher, a job she cherished. She touched the lives of children of all ages who adored and gravitated toward her. Pat was many things to so many people - a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt, educator, advisor, mentor and friend. Her intelligence, boundless loyalty, artistic sense and fun-loving attitude made her loved by everyone that knew her. Her family was shaped by her unconditional love and devotion and will be forever changed by her passing. Pat is survived by her son Carmen Ciardiello of Guilford and daughters Elizabeth Leaming of Marlborough and Sara Ciardiello of Cheshire as well as her beloved six grandchildren who were the light of her life. Additionally, she leaves her sister and brother-in-law Rosanne (Lee) and Joseph Carlson. She was predeceased by her brother Thomas Lee Jr. A funeral mass will be held Friday, August 17, 2012 at 10 a.m. at St. Rita Church, 1620 Whitney Avenue., Hamden. Burial will follow at St. James Cemetery, Cross Street, Naugatuck. Calling hours will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 16th at Beecher & Bennett, 2300 Whitney Avenue in Hamden. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Spring Glen School Fund in memory of Patricia Ciardiello, c/o Webster Bank, PO Box 10303, Waterbury, CT 06726, which will be used to enrich the lives of students at Spring Glen School in Hamden. Family eulogy for Patricia Lee Ciardiello 'Don't cry for me, I've had a great life.' A central component of any community is a gathering or congregation at a wake and funeral for a loved one. We are here today as Pat Ciardiello's community, every one of us connected to her in some special way. This is a beautiful and loving community. Thank you all for coming; it means so much to her family. Mom was born in Naugatuck, Connecticut in 1942, where she grew up the youngest daughter of Tom and Ann Lee. With her brother Tom and sister Rosanne they grew up as an exceptionally close and loving family, along with her faith, it undoubtedly laid the foundation for who she would become later in life. As an adult I came to realize how much she truly loved her parents and siblings, a cherished affection she spoke about till the day she passed. As a young woman, Mom gave birth to my sister Beth and me. She began her own family, creating a special home akin to the nurturing and loving environment she grew up in. It was a home that welcomed many; nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors, it did not matter. Her arms were always open, inviting all to feel the radiance of her warm embrace and gracious smile. It was as if everyone was her child. It was a happy place. So what do you do as a mother as your children prepare for college? After you've made all the school lunches, gone food shopping, sewed the clothes, broke up the fights, wiped away the tears, cheered at athletic events and gave all those painful baths – you have another child, my sister Sara. Alone together, Mom and Sara grew to be one. I can't tell you how many times they would finish each other's sentences or help dress one another in their impeccable clothes. It was a truly special relationship that I am so grateful each was able to share. As a mother, Mom always wanted us to be good. She wanted us to be happy. Through her actions we learned kindness, generosity, compassion and how to laugh. She taught us to always look on the bright side and to find the good in people, even when we were angry. She never would utter a bad word about anyone and imparted on us to do the same. Her goal as a mother was to pass on the values she had been taught and practiced herself. In her last few days, as her cancer ravaged her physical being, she said in a soft voice 'I'm so happy….I raised three great kids.' The truly amazing part about Mom was after raising her own children she felt she still had so much more to give. With her boundless energy, she found it within herself to finish college and go on to receive her Master's Degree so she could become an elementary school teacher. It was this teaching career that completed her. It was a calling that not only involved her students but their parents, her co-workers and her community. As a parent recently professed 'She treated each student as if she was a Mom first and teacher second.' Over the years I heard over and over again that she was every child's favorite teacher. This was undoubtedly because she believed every child was special and gifted in their own way and that encouragement and love were the key to unlocking a child's talent. As with her students, Mom took away so much from her relationships with her colleagues, friends and neighbors over the years. She always loved having people around and thus the countless gatherings and hosted parties at her home, a home she was very proud of. When we would call her from time to time to ask her what she was doing, it seemed as though she was always saying 'I'm having a baby shower' or 'I'm having a surprise party.' I never knew she knew so many people. Mom had a big heart and this was her way to give everyone a chance inside. While our Mom contemplated retirement over the past several years, she seemed to grow younger as she watched her blessed 6 grandchildren begin to grow up. She called them her little angels. She gained strength from their innocence and shared her love for them, like only a grandmother can. She relished the time she had to bond with them individually and was amazed at how different they all were. She had an incredible ability to make each grandchild feel special as if they were the only grandchild she'd ever had. She loved them with everything she had and it showed. Over the past few days I keep imagining where she is and what she is doing. I continually come back to the vision of her at the gates of Heaven, smiling that same radiant smile with her arms open wide; she is eagerly awaiting those elementary aged kids as they are told 'Okay, you are going to go with Mrs. Ciardiello, she has a few things to teach you'. Ultimately our Mother was a giver and such self-giving would not have been possible without her faith in God. It was this faith that guided her home in the end. Back home with her parents, her brother and all those who have passed before her. While her body is gone, we should all find consolation in knowing that a part of her spirit lives in all of us. If you let her, feel her warm embrace. She is in each breath you take. Feel the strength and courage that she felt as she whispered into her grandchild's ear, 'Don't cry for me, 'I've had a great life'