Laura J. Chiarella, age 100, passed away peacefully in her home on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. She was born on October 16, 1921, to her mother, Teresa DeVito Pannozzo, and her father, Vincenzo Pannozzo. Laura attended Danbury schools and was a member of the Danbury High School Class of 1940. At the age of 25, she married Anthony (Tony) P. Chiarella and made a wonderful life together. Laura and Tony worked for her father in the family business known as Pannozzo’s Florist on Lower South Street in Danbury. Laura’s love of the culinary arts drew her into waitressing in many local restaurants until she eventually opened a breakfast and lunch restaurant known as the Berkshire Spa on the south end of Main Street where she enjoyed serving locals her homemade soups and stews. On Sunday mornings, crowds would gather for her breakfast specialties. Moving on, and realizing how much family time she was missing, a friend encouraged her to apply for a job with the State of CT, Dept. of Motor Vehicles, where she would hold a 9 to 5 job. She aced her tests and landed a job as an Examiner. Knowing how much more she had to offer, she tested for a managerial position, which she held until retirement in 1985. Laura jumped from the “frying pan” into the “fire”, so to speak. This was not a 9 to 5 job!
With her abundance of energy and desire to travel, she spent her time (post-retirement) as a travel agent with Fugazy Travel in Bethel where she then lived her dream of traveling the world! Laura also loved to read and visit New York City to see many Broadway shows! Laura’s love for food served her family well as she hosted many family parties, wedding and bridal showers, holidays, and her most special Christmas Eve dinner where she made the many recipes handed down from her mother.
Laura and Tony vacationed in Davie, Florida for the winter months along with her dad, “Pop Pannozzo.” She learned to play golf and continued to host many a party with new friends and family. When Tony died in 1990, she continued to travel with Pop and care for him. She traveled back and forth on her own until the age of 98!
Laura is survived by her daughter, Melanie (Ted) Lucas of Danbury, her grandchildren, Teri (Jason) Posey of Moseley, VA; Ted (Johanna) Lucas of Southington, CT; and Laura (Peter) Sinapi, of Brookfield, CT. In addition, she leaves her most cherished possessions, her great-grandchildren, Ben and Lila Posey, Connor and Griffin Lucas, and Olivia and Sofia Sinapi. Also, Laura leaves behind many cousins, nieces, and nephews, who were very special to her. Laura was predeceased by her brother, Joseph (Mary) Pannozzo, and sisters Grace (Joseph) Pasquarella, and Carmela (Michael) Troccolo, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Due to concerns about social gatherings affecting us all at this time, all funeral services will be private for the immediate family.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl, Memphis, TN 38105, or www.stjude.org/donate.
“What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we lose deeply becomes part of us.” - HELEN KELLER
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