In Loving Memory of Phyllis B. Antonetz
New York, NY
April 17, 2020
Spear-Miller Funeral Home
39 South Benson Road,
Fairfield CT US 06824
A Memorial Mass and celebration of life will be held when safe to do so.
Phyllis Beatrice Antonetz
Phyllis Beatrice Antonetz, née Pirro, age 103, of Fairfield, CT beloved wife of the late Alexander Antonetz and who lived her life with graceful joy of family and friends and a lifelong quest for learning, died on Friday, April 17, 2020 due to complications of the coronavirus.
Phyllis was born on March 8, 1917 in New York City. Her parents, the late Paul and Catherine (Cundari) Pirro were Italian immigrants, who though lacking in formal education themselves, were determined to see their three children study hard and achieve. Her parents’ quest for learning remained instilled in Phyllis throughout her life, especially in later years as a volunteer working with elementary school children, to whom she shared her love for learning.
A 1933 graduate of Julia Richman High School in Manhattan, Phyllis enrolled in New York University where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1937. Following graduation, she became a full-time employee at R.H. Macy’s where she had worked part-time during her undergraduate studies. While working at Macy’s during the World War II years, she volunteered as a nurse’s aide at New York Post-Graduate Medical School and Hospital. At Macy’s, she was employed in a variety of positions, including senior executive positions in over 40 departments. She retired as Special Events Coordinator in 1953 to marry Alexander Antonetz, Macy’s assistant manager of operations at the time.
The couple established a home in Garden City, Long Island, where in 1972 Phyllis earned her Master’s degree in Education at Adelphi University. She combined her responsibilities as a homemaker and mother with volunteerism in the community. A 25-year member of the American Association of University Women, she assumed a variety of responsibilities with the organization, including vice president for program development.
For many years, Phyllis was a classroom teacher at a number of Long Island elementary schools. These were Notre Dame in New Hyde Park, St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square and St. Joseph’s School in Garden City. Years later, she continued her interest in working with children as a classroom volunteer at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Fairfield, Connecticut where she moved in 1999, following the death of her husband after 33 years of marriage. In 2008, she relocated to Simsbury for four years, and in 2012 moved back to Fairfield.
Throughout her life Phyllis enjoyed sharing the love of learning with others, especially the young children to whom she enjoyed instilling the love of books. A lifelong New York Yankees fan, she approached every day with an optimistic spirit. She believed in a positive attitude, even on a rainy day, she would emanate a feeling of sunshine that radiated a spirit of hope, love and faith. She believed in reaching out to family and friends and demonstrated that the best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone up.
In addition to her husband and parents, Phyllis was pre-deceased by her brother Salvatore Pirro, and sister Mary Pirro.
Phyllis is the beloved mother of Anna Maria (Ria) Battaglia and her husband Robert of Simsbury, Catherine Antonetz of Manhattan, and Alexa Mullady and her husband James of Fairfield; loving grandmother of James Mullady (Jaclyn) of Trumbull, CT, Kaitlin Strobel (William) of Harrison, NY, Matthew Battaglia (Keirsten) of Tampa, FL, Kristen Mullady of Fairfield, and William Battaglia of Boston, MA, and great-grandmother to Madison, Penelope, Jameson and Stanley. She was a loving and faithful aunt, cousin and friend to many.
The family is very grateful to the kind and caring staff of the Carolton Hospital. Due to health concerns, no services will be held at this time. A private burial will be held at Calverton National Cemetery. A Memorial Mass and celebration of Phyllis’ life will be held when safe to do so. For information or to offer an online condolence, please visit www.SpearFuneralHome.com.