Obituary: Vita Cardaci Gray, 90

Vita Cardaci Gray, age 90, of Southington and formerly of New York City, entered into eternal life surrounded by her family on Saturday, July 7th.   She went to sleep at home and woke up in the arms of God.  She was the loving wife of the late John Patrick Gray.

Mrs. Vita Cardaci Gray entered into this world on October 20, 1927, in Manhattan, New York, daughter of the late Joseph and Domenica (Pulverenti) Cardaci of Sicily, Italy.   Vita lived most of her younger years in Manhattan, NY on Prince, Sullivan and Thompson Street. Her father would pick her and her younger brother Vito up after school and take them to their play ground, Washington Square Park in the Village, where they would play for an hour almost every day. They would often play games like stoop-ball, hand-ball, pick-up-sticks, or watched the older gentlemen in the park play card games or chess.  Vita and her brother would also play cards on the stairs going up to the roof and try to sneak into the 5 cent movies as often as possible.  Her mother died of cancer when Vita was just 9 years old.  This left a lifelong scar in her heart and spirit.  She had to grow up rather quickly taking care of her younger brother and herself for many hours a day while her father worked. Her father taught her how to cook, sew, clean their apartment, trust in God and daily values (that she has taken with her all her life), and the nuns taught her how to achieve her goals in life.  She attended St. Anthony Jr. High, Washington Irving High School, Spenser Secretarial and then onto Steno Type Institute on Madison Avenue and NYU for one year.  She was proud that she only played hooky (skipped school) once, and that was to see the movie Gilda and to see Frank Sinatra live on stage after the movie (at the Strand) with a few of her classmates (but all the time looking over her shoulder, should her father be nearby).  During the war years she worked for Hansom’s Bakery on 8th Street, Pharmaceutical Company on 33rd Street and The Army Exchange on 43rd & 44th Street.  Growing up during the depression years and the war left emotional scars, but gave her a stiff upper lip to deal with life’s many challenges.  After the war she married John Patrick Gray of Long Island in New York at Holy Cross Church on 42nd Street and they moved to Newtown, CT.  They both worked at Fairfield State Hospital in Newtown for four years.  There they met one of their dearest life-long friends Yo and Bill Rounds.  Making only .90 cents a day they would entertain themselves with the Rounds by playing cards, going for car rides or sitting up late nights talking about what their future held.  Later they moved to Southington where they raised a family of four, numerous animals and countless vegetable gardens.  It was during this period of her life that she stressed upon her children the values, moral compass and ideals that she learned as a child.  Vita was a longtime communicant of both St. Thomas Church and St. Aloysius Parish in Southington,CT.

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