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Mary Ellen Antonioli 1961-2023

Mary Ellen Antonioli (nee Belletti), age 61, of Naugatuck, CT, passed away the afternoon of Saturday, January 14, 2023. She was in her home, surrounded by her family and beloved cats.

A few months prior, Mary suffered a stroke and discovered that she had terminal lung cancer which had spread to her brain. After exhausting all medical interventions, she went home on hospice, cared for by her husband and daughter, to savor her remaining time with comfort, love, and dignity. While at home, Mary challenged herself to regain the use of her left side that had been paralyzed by the stroke and proudly reclaimed some independence. With great determination, Mary persevered beyond the time and milestones of medical expectations. She was a fighter until the end when she unexpectedly but peacefully passed in her sleep. When faced with such a devastating diagnosis at 61, her family worked tirelessly to ensure that Mary received the greatest care, was never alone, and had experiences that filled her with happiness and joy.

In her life, Mary was the youngest of five children – sometimes her siblings even had to take her on their dates while babysitting. She grew up in the Naugatuck area, where she attended Naugatuck High School, class of 1979. A few years later she met the love of her life and future husband, Thomas (Jay) Antonioli on a blind date. They shared a passion of cruising the open road on motorcycles and, in 1985, they married. Their only child, Courtney, was born later that year. Mary spent her career in the legal field before retiring, whereupon she unleashed her enthusiasm for cooking.

Rounded out by a posse of cats, the family enjoyed making regular trips to Walt Disney World, laughing at the dinner table, watching young Courtney play soccer, and having people over for game nights. Mary loved to decorate and expressed her passions and joy through fashion, especially glittery pink (and Tinker Bell). In a world that urges conformity, Mary embraced who she was, never compromising herself to fit in.

After their daughter moved to Brooklyn, Mary and Jay relished in their special time together, finding new experiences and connection in nature walks, bird watching, and motorcycle rides. Where one was, you knew the other was close by.

She is survived by her husband of 38 years, Thomas Antonioli, and her daughter, Courtney Antonioli; her sisters Lorraine Karaban of Naugatuck, CT and Barbara Burke of Waterbury, CT; her brother Lawrence Belletti and his wife Marilyn of Kent, CT; brother-in-law Bobby Antonioli and wife Debbie of Plymouth, CT; and sister-in-law Sharon Drolet of Nevada; and niece Deborah Karaban of Naugatuck, CT. She is predeceased by her parents Joseph and Bertha (Cote) Belletti, brother Joseph Belletti Jr. of Seymour, CT, and her best friend LoAnn. She also leaves behind many loving nieces and nephews, cousins, friends and colleagues.

In place of a service, friends and family are welcome to celebrate Mary on Saturday, January 21st starting at 3PM at her home: 217 Union City Road, Naugatuck, CT. No RSVP is needed, please feel free to drop by and share a memory and a hug.

Mary and her family were supported by Masonicare Health Center of Wallingford, CT during her final months. Her family is incredibly grateful for their kindness, support, empathy, and care. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to donate in Mary's name to: The Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut, P.O. Box 70 Wallingford, CT 06492 or at, or to The American Cancer Society at

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