Philomena Patricia (Cardone) Pagnini, lovingly known as “Ma Phillie,” 87, of Milford, peacefully passed away on Tuesday December 8th at her home, just three days after her beloved husband Ronald Pagnini Sr.
Born on October 5, 1933, Ma Phillie was a lifelong member of the Milford community. She cherished her parents, Nicholas and Louise (Sannicandro) Cardone, and her siblings, Nicholas, Ann (Nardi), Daniel and Marie (Anderson). She was incredibly proud of her brother Danny’s accomplishments as a newspaper delivery boy and would carry on his legacy several decades after his untimely death at the age of eleven. Ma Phillie and Ronnie shared a true love story. With the encouragement of her girlfriends, she visited the Music Nook one afternoon, and a couple days later she was asked out by the man she would spend her life with. They were married on June 25, 1955 with a great celebration of food, music, and love, and celebrated their 65th anniversary this past year. Ma Phillie was a devoted caretaker after Ronnie’s stroke, and would serenade him daily with her favorite tune “I Can’t Stop Loving You.” Family meant everything to Ma Phillie.
She adored her three children and enjoyed visits from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved sharing a birthday with her granddaughter, Marla, and great-granddaughter, Riley. Ever a storyteller, she spent much time recounting family history. She would often share an anecdote from her own life, making sure to pass on as much “common sense” as she could. She found lessons in everything and beauty in connection. Ma Phillie was a talented pianist, willing to host a recital for anyone who might drop-in. She taught organ and piano to hundreds of Milford children. She loved to sing and hoped to one day sing the national anthem at the Olympics. She possessed endless creativity, writing songs and crafting poetry. Ma Phillie knew that to cook was to build community. She was famous for her legendary homemade pizza. Her recipe included a ‘pinch’ of this and a ‘touch’ of that, but the main ingredient was always love. It was common for her to make pizza for any event her family was involved in, from house parties and events at school, to celebrating someone’s birthday. She bought all of her ingredients from her favorite store, the Big Y, where everyone knew her name. She wrote a jingle, which she would sing to the managers and staff, who much to her delight, would respond with an immediate round of applause.
Ma Phillie enjoyed spending time with Ronnie at their summer home in Bourne. They loved to travel, and together spent time in Italy, Ireland, Aruba, and Disney World. One of her most memorable trips was riding on the Orient Express, during which she entertained other guests by singing one of her favorite tunes. Her house was filled with photos of these wonderful memories. She often recounted these stories as she cooked or played the piano. Her stories ended with either a reminder that “I may not be rich in money, but I’m rich in blood” or with her famous telephone sign off of “toot toot.” Ma Phillie loved to decorate her house for all occasions. Every night all year round, it is lit up providing a landmark that gives joy to both parents and children Many a stranger has knocked on her door to compliment her on her decorations and the beacon of festive lights that constantly shine. Just this year, Ma Phillie’s decorations won the town’s inaugural light decorating contest for Halloween.
In addition to her predeceased husband she is survived by her sister Ann Nardi, children, LuAnn Malnati and her husband Paul, Jayne Moynihan and her husband Pete, and Ronald Pagnini Jr. and his wife Maureen (Eplite), her grandchildren, Marla Baisley and her husband Lee, Luke Chiccarelli and his wife Lauren (Haskell), James Malnati, Janice Moynihan Forster and her husband Tim, Erin Moynihan, Patrick Moynihan, Jesse Pagnini, Victoria Pagnini, Quirina Allegrezza, and Luke Allegrezza, and great-grandchildren, Caleb Johnson, Ryder and Summer Baisley, Riley, Liana, Leo, and Lillian Chiccarelli, and many loving nieces and nephews.
A mass of Christian burial will be held Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 11:00 AM at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 7 East Main Street Milford, MA (upper church). Calling hours will be held on Friday, December 11, 2020 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Consigli Ruggerio Funeral Home, 46 Water Street, Milford MA.
Note: Strict Covid protocols will be enforced at both the church and funeral home. These include wearing a face covering, social distancing of six feet, and no gathering in doors. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to:
St Jude’s Children Research Hospital, Memorial Giving, 501 Saint Jude’s Place, Memphis, TN 38105 www.stjude.orgOliva Fund for Cancer Care, 14 Prospect Street, Milford, MAFoundation.milfordregional.org/the-Oliva-fund-for-cancer-care/
The Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra, 208 Main Street, Suite 22, Milford, MA www.claflinhill.com