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Lena's Story

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Lena (Pugliese) Cifrian, a lifelong resident of Witherbee, N.Y., passed away on Jan. 5, 2018. She was born on March 16, 1915, to John and Virginia (Mazza) Pugliese and was married to Florencio Cifrian at St. Michaels Catholic Church.
Lena was predeceased by her parents, husband, daughter Laura and son-in-law Larry Putnam, great-granddaughter Haley Cifrian; siblings and spouses Rose Mascarenas Fernandez, Nellie Lavin, Sarah Sanchez, Jennie Rosselli, Mary Brooks DeMatteo, Eleanor Scialdone, Elizabeth Lane, Frank Ponessa, and infant siblings John and Margarita.
Lena is survived by her son Edward and wife Lorna; grandchildren Edward and Judy Cifrian, Daniel and Susan Cifrian, Lorrie and Jack Rafferty, Larry and Angela Putnam; great-grandchildren Emilie and Erik Cifrian, Ava Cifrian, Andrew Rafferty; her brother Joseph Ponessa and wife Betty and many nieces and nephews.
My mom was a gifted cook who created a variety of delicious and tasty recipes from ordinary ingredients mostly from her garden. For years, she planted a large garden of vegetables, strawberries, raspberries and picked wild blackberries, blueberries and mushrooms. Typically, she preserved over 100 jars of produce and filled the potato-bin in the root cellar that lasted most of the winter. It is with fond memories that I can say I have never enjoyed any food more than the meals made by my mother.
After Florencio passed, Lena was employed by the Essex County Office for Aging nutrition services. Her job was to plan a menu, order the ingredients and cook meals for the senior center and home delivery. Cooking for an institution was a daunting task compared to cooking for a family. However, with her ingenuity and culinary skills she made this transition and became a hit with the people who enjoyed her delicious homestyle meals. I heard the appreciation of her cooking from many friends and neighbors and felt proud of her.
Lena was a member of St. Michael's Church, St. Michael's Altar and Rosary Society, and the Mineville VFW Ladies Auxiliary. One of her greatest adventures was a pilgrimage to Europe where she visited a number of Catholic shrines. Her highlights were the religious destinations of Fatima, Portugal; Garabandal, Spain; and Lourdes, France.
Lena cared deeply for her family and being with them is what she enjoyed the most. From her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, nieces, and nephews; she loved them all. It was all about family and she enjoyed the love and caring from them. Such as the colorful drawings from great-granddaughter Ava to the beautiful quilt handmade by her niece Gayle Chapuk O'Bryan, commemorating her 102nd birthday. Gayle embroidered a beautiful message on the quilt: "Quilts are a blanket of love, Aunt Lena March 16, 2017, from the Chapuk O'Bryan family."
Visitation will be held on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Harland Funeral Home in Port Henry. A funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church in Port Henry. To leave condolences for the family please visit www.harlandfuneralhome.com. For those wishing to honor Lena's memory, please consider a charity of your choice.
Published on January 8, 2018
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