Joanne Margaret Fantoni (nee DeBasi)
Age 84, of Collier Twp., formerly of Brookline and the Lower Hill, joined her family, friends and God in Heaven on December 7 after a brief battle with COVID. Loving wife of the late Donald Fantoni, devoted daughter of the late Katherine (Stupka) DeBasi, originally of Rimersburg, and Pittsburgh sandlot football legend Jim “Ham Kelly” DeBasi. A graduate of Elizabeth Seton High School and retiree of the Allegheny County Controllers Office, she was active in the community, including a founding member of South End Active Democrats (SEAD), Board Member of the South Pittsburgh Development Corporation (SPDC), co-founder of the annual Brookline Parkside 50s picnic, featured columnist in the Brookline, a monthly publication of SPDC, co-author of Brookline: Images of America Series (Acadia Publishing 2005), and a parishioner of the Church of the Resurrection for over 70 years. She was an avid card player (500 Bid) and amateur genealogist, researching her grandmothers’ villages in Eastern Slovakia and Southern Italy. She loved traveling, especially New York City, where she visited her cousins in Little Italy as a child, and later for shopping and Broadway trips with her daughter. She enjoyed beach vacations with her cousins, trips to California and Vegas with her friends and Caribbean Cruises, making it as far as Belize. However, her favorite vacation memories were at the cottage in Clarion County, that her husband Don built with his own hands. She was a wonderful cook, having learned at the side of her Italian grandmother, and enjoyed preparing meals for family, friends and hungry strangers. She had a great love of country, especially those who risked their lives for her freedoms, and funded many memorials in honor of her husband’s service in Korea, and her Uncle Johnny’s combat in WWII. She is survived by her daughter, Melody Fantoni Hamel, and many cousins and friends.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, December 19, at 10 a.m., in the Church of the Resurrection (St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish).
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