Viola J. Cavallaro, 91

Viola Cavallaro

SOUTH PORTLAND — Viola “Midge” Jennie Cavallaro, 91, of South Portland, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017.

Born in Richmond on March 28, 1926, the daughter of Lottie (Fraiser) and Francis Monroe, she was affectionately known as “Midge,” a name given to her by her father due to her small stature. She graduated from Gardiner High School in 1944.

Midge moved to Portland and met her future husband, Albert Cavallaro, while working at the YMCA. They married in 1956 and raised their three children in Portland’s East Deering neighborhood.

Before moving to Portland, Midge was a shoe model in Gardiner for a local manufacturer, having only a size 5½ shoe size. After moving to Portland, and once her children were in school, she worked for the City of Portland’s School Lunch program, eventually managing several of the cafeterias. As her family grew older, they went into the food service business, operating a catering company, delicatessen restaurant, and three pushcarts throughout the city of Portland.

After retiring, she and her husband moved from their East Deering home to Saco, then Clearwater, Fla. After spending time in Florida, they moved back to Maine to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

In their retirement, Midge and Albert traveled extensively, enjoying visits to England, France, Portugal, Spain, and, of course, Italy. They enjoyed these travels by both air and sea, having sailed on the Queen Elizabeth II for one of their trips.

Midge was proud to have married into a large Italian family and kept the traditions alive, passing them down to the next two generations. She was well known for making delicious Italian Filled Cookies, which her children and grandchildren still make today.

She is predeceased by her husband of over 50 years, Albert Cavallaro; her sisters, Beatrice Hill and Ann Grant; and brother, Francis (Jr.) Monroe.

She is survived by her brother, Lawrence Monroe of Kearny, N.J.; a son, Louis Cavallaro of Portland; daughters, Carmen Wallace of Scarborough and Terry Desmond of Windham; six grandchildren including Christopher Desmond of Naples; three great-grandsons, along with many nieces and nephews.

Visiting hours were held Tuesday, Aug. 22 at Jones Rich and Barnes Funeral Home, 199 Woodford Street, Portland. Prayers were recited on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at the funeral home followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church. Interment followed at New Calvary Cemetery, South Portland.

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