Rina Giancaspro (nee Fontana), a lifelong resident of Hoboken, passed away peacefully at home surrounded with her loving children on February 14, 2021.
Rina’s story began in Molfetta, Italy. Born to Vito and Maria Rosa Fontana, Rina made her voyage on the Conte Rosso with her parents to begin her life in America, where the strands of a new story awaited and her remarkable story would be beautifully woven.
She met the love of her life, Joseph Giancaspro, in Hoboken, and together they laid the cornerstone of their family for generations to come. As an Italian immigrant, she instilled a strong work ethic that continues to be deeply felt by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Rina was a brilliant master of knitting and crocheting, a teacher, a life force like no other. She learned to knit and crochet in a factory during World War II. It was her passion, her salvation, her art, and her purpose. It was her therapy in difficult times and her gift that she shared with everyone who entered her world. She taught hundreds of students how to knit and crochet at the Evening School for Industrial Education and the Hoboken and Secaucus Adult Education Programs. When teaching others how to create, she also taught them patience and fortitude with a strictness that belied her sweet disposition. Her “magic hands” transformed fraying strands into gorgeous afghans, frilly scarves, hats, intricate lace doilies, and dainty baby booties. She swaddled generations in her handmade blankets, where all felt her love in every stitch.
She started each day with a piping hot cup of coffee, newspaper, skein of yarn, and knitting needles. She was a child of the Depression, but would recount the simplest pleasures as though they were the most grand. She was an amazing cook who fed countless others in addition to her large family.
A stunning redhead, Rina’s zest for life included her love for classic movies and music of the American Classical Songbook. Rina lit up every room with her vibrant spirit, beautiful white clothing, and her amazing memory and wit. That she would leave on Valentine’s Day could not be more apt. She was all heart, filled with love, compelled to start conversations with strangers, flirt with every man she met and build friendships with people of all ages. That was part of her magic – she was ageless. Young in spirit, engaged and curious. While there were countless people whose lives she touched, she was ours. How lucky were we?
Predeceased by her loving husband Joseph (1982), beloved son Joseph (1948), son-in-law Vincent Amato, and brothers Sergio, Paul, and Joseph Fontana. Mother of Victoria Giancaspro, Marietta Amato, Rina Giancaspro, Josephine DeGennaro (Mauro), Joseph Giancaspro (Valerie), Dominick Giancaspro, and Annette Aligo (Angelo).
Grandmother of Vincent Pasculli (Lisa), Kim Festa (Gregg), Tory Pasculli, Jason Pasculli (Mary), Nicole Amato (Tom Brennan), Vincent Amato, Joseph Amato, Maria Amato, Dana Garcia (Joseph), Marc DeGennaro (Christina), Tara Giancaspro, Joseph Giancaspro, Ashley Calligy (Jonathan), Annette Aligo and Angelo Aligo. Great-grandmother of Gregg, Marco, and Luke Festa, Joseph and Alexandra Garcia, Dominic and Michael DeGennaro, and Matthew and Leo Calligy. Survived by siblings Sarah Daddetto and Ignazio Fontana (Helen), sister-in-law Stella Fontana and many nieces, nephews, and close friends.
Visitation will be held on Friday, February 19, 2021 from 3 to 8 p.m. at Failla Memorial Home, 533 Willow Avenue, Hoboken. Parking available in rear of memorial home off Sixth Street. Due to CDC Guidelines, visitors are asked to wear a face covering and practice social distancing.
Her funeral mass will be offered on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Francis Church, Hoboken. No viewing on Saturday morning. For Live Streaming of her mass, please go to Saint Francis Church Hoboken YouTube. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations can be made to The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or St. Francis Church Memorial Fund in Rina’s memory.