Assunta Maria Barone
Assunta Maria Barone
Assunta “Sue” Barone, a loving mother, wife, grandmother, great-grandmother, and dear friend who moved to the United States as a young woman and devoted her life to the care of others, died Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at age 86. After several beautiful days of celebrating her life together with family, she passed away peacefully at home in Lincoln, California, surrounded by those she loved.
Born Assunta Maria Porco in Southern Italy’s Calabria region, she grew up in the pastoral communities of Lago and L’Acqua Fredda. The death of her father in World War II left her mother to care for Assunta and her older brother and sister. The family relied on the land, selling fruits and vegetables from their farm to cover living expenses. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandmothers lived often under the same roof, eating communal dinners, and growing up as one large family.
Instilled with the value of education, a trait she would pass on to her own children, Assunta left home at the tender age of 11 to study under the tutelage of nuns in Cetraro, and later, Cosenza. She trained to be a clothing designer, developing a lifelong passion and skill for sewing and craftsmanship.
In the summer of 1956, she married Giuseppe “Joe” Barone and settled in Michigan. Initially speaking no English, Assunta, quickly learned the language by befriending neighbors and by reading recipes in newspapers each day. She raised seven children, who would all go on to earn higher education degrees and to become successful professionals in education, healthcare, and business. Following in her footsteps, each also developed the love for gathering others into their homes, centered around delicious meals and laughter. In downriver Detroit, she built a community of neighbors, many fellow Italian-Americans, who would become lifelong friends.
In her later years, she passed on her Italian heritage to her grandchildren and, eventually, great-grandchildren. Assunta’s home always evoked the smells of Italy; pasta sauce simmering on the stove, pizza rising in the oven, and fried pastries soaking in honey.
Assunta is survived by her husband, seven children and their spouses, 10 grandchildren and their spouses, and seven great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Malawi Fund (https://malala.org/) or Imagination Library (https://imaginationlibrary.com/), both organizations focusing on learning and education.