The Life of Concetta G. Leone

Concetta G Leone also known as Connie or Cousin Tina or Momma Leone left this earthy life on January 7, 2022.   She was 100 years old and managed to be present and engaged with her family and friends up until her final few days.  She died peacefully at Lankenau Hospital.   Connie's life and homecoming will be celebrated in a Funeral Mass on Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 10:30 AM at Saint Bernadette Church, 1035 Turner Avenue, Drexel Hill PA.  Visitation begins at 9:30 AM. 

Concetta was born in Monforte San Giorgio in Sicily to Frederick and Carmella Leone on July 11, 1921. She was the oldest of three children.   She grew up in a very small rural village set in the mountains and not far from the sea. 

Her family immigrated to the United States and settled in South Philadelphia and later moved to Drexel Hill where Connie lived until her death.  She was a devoted daughter caring for her parents in their elder years and a loving, generous sister to her brother Peter and her sister Frances.   Connie dearly loved her nieces Stephanie, and Deborah and her nephew Michael Leone.  Michael and his wife Kristine lovingly cared for Connie in her final few years, making it possible for her to remain in the home she never wanted to leave until God called her to her final resting place. 

Connie was a woman ahead of her time.  Her determined, independent spirit was a core part of who she was. She had a keen intellect and a curiosity about life, people and the larger world that made her a life long learner and a wise elder and teacher to all who knew her.  Her love of learning was a true inspiration.

She worked as the Head librarian of the Fine Arts Slide Collection of the University of Pennsylvania for 25 years.   In this capacity she not only maintained quality standards, she also became a mentor and friend to the students assigned to her team.  It was one of these students who termed the phrase Momma Leone as a tribute to the woman who guided, taught and nurtured her. 

Connie loved to travel and made frequent trips to Europe and to her hometown in her beloved Sicily.  

She was an accomplished designer and seamstress.  She also loved to knit and made beautiful sweaters and scarves that kept many family and friends wrapped in her fine wool and abundant generosity.  She loved art and art history and was an accomplished painter.  She loved classical music, especially opera.  She was an avid reader and enjoyed the poetry of Emily Dickinson and a wide range of other poets from across the world.

She was an avid gardener and watched over her plants both indoors and outdoors with meticulous care..  She loved to cook and used her meals as a way to bring people together.  She would invite her entire block of Bryan Street every year to celebrate Mardi Gras.   Some neighbors say that they really became closer as a community because of Connie’s ability to knit people together in her own unique way.

Connie was direct and to the point.  You never had to wonder what she was thinking or feeling which occasionally got her into trouble.  But her love and generosity of spirit for family, friends and community drew you in like a magnet ultimately.

Finally Connie was a woman of deep faith.   She believed that God provides the grace and love we need to weather life’s many challenges.   You can’t live 100 years without knowing your share of joy and heartache.  Toward the end of her life she had trouble seeing and hearing and lost much of her mobility.  Yet she stayed positive and hopeful, rooted in her faith in God in ways that gave her the strength, patience and courage she needed to navigate each season of her life. 

Concetta Leone devoted daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, teacher, mentor and friend, made the world better for all who were blessed to know and love her.  Her light continued to grow brighter with age.  We are grateful for the gift of her faith and love.  May she rest in God’s abundant and unending peace.


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