Jean M. (Iannone) Cerulli
Sep 10, 2022
Jean M. (Iannone) Cerulli, the beloved matriarch of the Cerulli family, passed away on Friday, September 2, 2022.
Jean, or "Nonna" to her family, was born on March 28, 1937 in Isernia, Italy, daugher of the late Liberato and Angelina (Avicolli) Iannone. The town of about 20,000 people, located in the Molise region of central Italy, is where Jean survived the Allied bombing of her home, an attack meant to drive out German forces during World War II.
Jean was 10-years-old when she made her journey across the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived in Boston. She excelled in school, and after graduating, became the administrative assistant to one of the vice presidents of Westinghouse Corporation in Boston.
That's where she met the love of her life, Joseph Cerulli, who she would go on to marry in 1959.
The Cerulli's moved to Winthrop, Massachusetts after they wed, where they started a family that would eventually include five children. Jean and the rest of her family moved to Dartmouth in 1972.
The 1970s and early 1980s were busy years in Jean's life, as her day-to-day quickly filled up with overseeing the education and activities of five children, running a busy household and being involved in the Dartmouth School Music Association. She was also a contributing writer to The Standard-Times and the Dartmouth Chronicle. Jean was a communicant of Saint Julie Billiart Parish in Dartmouth, where she sang in the choir for many years as lead soprano.
Fast forward to 1985, and find Jean with her family beginning what would turn into a 20-year career running Cerulli's Gourmet Foods and Cafe in Mattapoisett. Her extraordinary skills as a great home chef, combined with her Italian roots, proved to be the perfect recipe for success. The Cerulli's Gourmet Foods and Cafe store became an adored destination on the Southcoast, where customers felt more like they were walking into the home of a relative, than just another restaurant. Some have described leaving the gourmet shop with not only full stomachs, but full hearts too.
Jean's ever-present guiding force throughout her life was her faith in God. She was a cherished communicant of Saint Francis Xavier Church in Acushnet and a devoted supporter of the Missionaries of Charity in New Bedford. Mother Teresa, who blessed Jean during her 1995 visit to New Bedford, was a guiding light in her spiritual life.
After retirement, Jean enjoyed traveling, music, crocheting and most of all, spending time with her ever-growing family. Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren - her "baby dolls" - were her greatest joy.
Jean is survived by her loving husband of 63 years, Joseph Cerulli; her five children and their spouses, Ann Marie and Steven Mills, Ralph and Karyn Cerulli, Angela and Kenneth Martin, Carolyn and Michael Fortin, and John and Amy Cerulli; nine grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; her sister, Josephine Delvento; her sister-in-law, Joan Iannone; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The family would like to thank St. Luke's Hospital PCU and Palliative teams for their outstanding care and compassion.
Private services honoring Jean were held by the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Home for Funerals. For online guestbook, visit www.saundersdwyer.com.