Maria Jovanna Castellano, 82, was born in the small village of Maierato, Italy on August 3, 1936 to Maria Theresa (Gullo) and Joseph Malta. She was from a family of four, an older brother Mingo (deceased) and two younger sisters Elisa and Rosina. She lived a good life in a rural town and they spent a lot of their time at “the farm” where they grew olives for oil, many fruits and vegetables and raised small animals for food. She also spent some time with the nuns in that area receiving her education.
Maria was married at the age of 17 to Joseph Castellano. After WWII her family moved to Argentina in order to start a better life and be with other family members there. Maria, while still in Italy, had two children, Elio and Elena. When the children were small, the family left Italy by transatlantic boat and migrated to Argentina where they reunited with her family. They lived in Argentina until 1970 when her husband Joe decided to move the family to the USA to again try to start a better life. He had family in Pittsburgh, PA where they first lived when arriving to the United States. This was the second time she had to change her culture and change the language in a new foreign country. This was a great sacrifice for her and her family. After a few years they decided to leave the cold and snow and move to Florida to start a service station business with Joe’s brother. They eventually had their own Texaco Service station in Kenneth City which they ran for approximately 10 years. Shortly after, they went into business with their son, Elio and became owners of a liquor store in the Tyrone area which they ran for approximately 8 years.
Maria’s husband Joe passed away in December 1989 after-which she enjoyed her retirement traveling and especially being with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Family meant everything to her and she loved them dearly. She also had many good friends that she cherished. She became fondly known as “Nonna” to all who knew her and attended St. Jude Cathedral for many years until her illness prevented it. For the past four years Maria has been lovingly cared for at her home by wonderful caregivers and her family.
She is survived by her two sisters, Elisa Pregliasco (Enrique) of San Luis, Argentina and Rosina Malta of Miami, FL. She has two children, Elio Castellano (Donna) of Treasure Island, FL and Elena Jones (Allen) of Ruskin, FL. She has three grandchildren, Elisa Borschel (Brian) of St. Petersburg, FL, Justin Castellano (Carley) of Jacksonville, FL, and Christopher Castellano of Denver, CO. She has two great grandchildren, Austin and Keira Borschel of St. Petersburg, FL.
In lieu of flowers you may make a donation to Suncoast Hospice who helped care for Maria in her final days.