Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Gloria A. Drongoski
Gloria Annette Ortolan Drongoski, age 89, died on her Father's birthday, August 15, 2018 surrounded by her immediate family. Gloria was born on January 13, 1929 to Emma (Cella) and Mario Ortolan in East Paterson (Elmwood Park), New Jersey. She was among that vast first generation born in America to immigrant parents. Gloria was predeceased by her husband of 43 years, Frank "Curly" Drongoski in 1993, her sisters Mary Jane Marlowe, Constance "Lena" De Dea, and her brother Armand "Monty" Zanussoe. Gloria leaves behind her two daughters - Cynthia Strouse and Susan Winn and their families; Robert Strouse, Benjamin Strouse, James Winn, Sara DelRusso and Alexandra (Winn) Badera. She is also survived by nephews James Marlowe II, Terrence Marlowe and Ronnie Drongoski and many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews.
Gloria grew up during the depression and her daughters have figured out that is why she was way ahead of the reduce-reuse-recycle trend as evidenced by the 87 ricotta and cool whip containers in her cupboards and refrigerator. The only challenge was trying to find the real cool whip in the freezer or refrigerator. She met her lifelong friend Josephine "Josie" Catanzariti Stanton where they grew up together on Kipp Avenue in East Paterson. After graduating from Lodi High School in 1946, she went to work for Forstmann Woolen Mills just after World War II ended. It was during those post war years that she met another lifelong friend, Ruth Wolochak Kowal. Josie and Ruthie would remain Gloria's friends for life-celebrating weddings, babies, graduations, grandchildren as well as sharing their losses of parents, family and their spouses.
Gloria met her husband, Frank, a Navy veteran, at a bowling alley in Clifton, NJ in 1948 and they would eventually marry in February 1950 and move in 1953 to their new little cape house way out in the country in Wayne, NJ. Those Hamilton Avenue friends became like family as well. Frank and Gloria were founding members of the first Catholic Church in Wayne, Our Lady of the Valley. Gloria was a lifelong member of the VFW Auxiliary. Gloria went back to work after her daughters were in junior high, working for Package House in Clifton, NJ and then for Gerard Dente Trading in Cedar Grove, NJ until she retired in 1994. She remained in Wayne in that same house for 65 years until February of 2018 when she moved to Stonebridge at Montgomery, Skillman, NJ to an independent living apartment near her daughter Cindy. She missed her long-time friends at Our Lady of the Valley seniors, Wayne Township seniors and Our Lady of Consolation seniors, but did meet new friends at Stonebridge to enjoy many activities and meals together.
Gloria was known for reading the Sunday NY Times cover-to-cover, her lack of patience, not holding back her opinion, a knack for telling it like it is and for her love of a good cup of hot coffee. Her friends, family and "surrogate" children would tell you there was always room at her kitchen table for a good conversation, a good cup of coffee and......
Her daughters and Gloria agreed that her swan song is Frank Sinatra's..."My Way."
Family and friends will be received Monday, September 3rd, from 2-6 p.m. at the funeral home.
The funeral Mass will be held Tuesday, September 4th at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of the Valley R.C. Church, 630 Valley Road, Wayne followed by interment at Christ the King Cemetery, 980 Huron Road, Franklin Lakes.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital or Our Lady of the Valley, R.C. Church for a Mass in her memory.
1591 Alps Road
at HAMBURG TURNPIKE
Wayne, New Jersey
Phone: (973) 694-0072 | Toll Free 888-999-0856 | Fax 973-694-7549