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Lucia Persico was born Lucia Carestia on December 13, 1924 in Caramanico Terme, Italy to her parents Angelo and Maria. She had an older brother named Salvatore. In 1941, she married Camillo Ciccodemarco, and they had a son, Raffaele Ciccodemarco. Once her husband went to serve in WWII, she was left to provide alone as a single parent. She made many scarifices to provide for her son during the war. She found herself working in the fields and walking up and down the mountains collecting wood for the winter and carrying the items back on her head, among other strenuous activities and odd jobs. Tragically, she lost her husband, Camillo in service to his country. Lucia lived in Caramanico Terme until 1948.
Lucia relocated to Argentina with her mother and son Raffaele where she joined her father and brother, who had immigrated a few years prior, in an attempt to build a better life for the family. Lucia was a very hard worker. She worked in a twine factory for many years earning only minimum wage. With much sacrifice, she managed to raise enough money to open a cafÃ© in Avellaneda, Argentina, where she worked tirelessly with her son Raffaele.
In 1951, Lucia reconnected with her old friend and neighbor, Caro Persico. A relationship blossomed into more than a friendship. Ten years later Caro left for California, but couldn’t stay away from Lucia for very long. She had her doubts that he would return but because of the extraordinary woman that she was, he made that fearful flight, bringing Lucia to Downey, California.
In 1962, Lucia and Caro were married, and from their union came her second son, Mario Persico.
In 1965 she and Caro opened Persico’s Pizza in Downey. The two worked side by side, with their sons, to build a successful family business for the next 40 years.
Lucia had five granddaughters, Lucia (Rick), Annamaria (Sean), and Lisa (Alex), born to Raffaele and Josephine Ciccodemarco. Christina (Freddy) and Gianna (Matthew) born to Mario and Kelly Persico. She had six great-grandchildren: Stephanie, Connor, Carosn, Isabella, Lucas, & Hudson, and two great-great grandchildren: Kaden and Mia. She called them all “Le Chittelle di Nanno.” Not one kiss was given without the question, “Chi sei tu?” (Who are you?) and she taught them to answer, “La Bella di Nonna” (Nonna’s beautiful one).
She loved her family more than life itself. Lucia would often say when everyone was together, “Mo stang content” (Now I’m happy). She taught her family so many wonderful things that will never be forgotten. Lucia had a wonderful sense of humor and always made her family and friends laugh. She was a magnificent woman who was a wife, mother, sister, aunt, Nonna (grandmother), and friend to so many. There is peace in knowing she is with the Lord, perpetually, peaceful and content.
Published: November 15, 2012 – Volume 11 – Issue 31