Amelia Viola Gallucci-Cirio, 95.
Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio was born in Fitchburg, Mass. on May 12, 1915, the daughter of Thomas and Anna Scarano Gallucci. Amelia graduated from Fitchburg State College in 1938. After graduation, she started teaching in a one room schoolhouse in Connecticut. Then, in 1947, she earned a master's degree from Boston University. In 1952 she married an Italian businessman, the late Henry A. Cirio. They honeymooned and lived near Rome for two years. After returning to the United States, the couple moved to Phoenix where she began a successful career in real estate.
Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio and her husband shared a love for Italian culture and traveled to Europe many times during their marriage. Throughout her life, she pursued her deep interest in the study of Western Civilization by focusing on the art and culture of Italy. In 1995 she established the Henry A. Cirio Fund at Teikyo Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut. The fund assists children and teenagers enrolled in the Alba Program. The Alba program offers students Italian cultural courses and language classes. Because of her philanthropic contributions, Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio has been given a lifetime membership in the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies in London.
Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio was also the single greatest benefactor to Fitchburg State College. In 2000, she founded the Center for Italian Culture at Fitchburg State College, which aims to encourage the understanding and appreciation of all aspects of the culture, including ancient and contemporary studies and the Italian experience in America. The center hosts a cultural series and Italian language courses, and provides academic programs, scholarships and a summer study program in Italy. The CIC will celebrate the success of its first decade, and Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio's generosity with student exhibitions and showcases and dinner in October.
Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio also founded the Gallucci-Cirio Endowment at Fitchburg State College with a $1 million gift in 2002, which at the time was the largest-ever donation to Fitchburg State College. The endowment supports activities and projects that promote Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio's long-held interest in the study of Italian language, culture, and Western Civilization. With that gift, the campus library was named in her honor. In 2007, Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio exceeded her previous generosity with a record $1.5 million bequest to establish a chair in Italian Studies and Western Civilization.
Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio was known as a generous giving person but she was also known for her love of cooking. She mastered many Italian favorites from her kitchen. In addition to the many kindnesses she bestowed on her three sisters, brother and numerous nieces and nephews, she was a nationally known benefactor and a true renaissance woman. Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio traveled to the east coast several times a year to visit family and friends at Fitchburg State College. When in Phoenix she enjoyed going to several local Italian restaurants and loved listening to the Saturday afternoon opera radio broadcast from the Met.
Amelia Viola Gallucci-Cirio's life was full. She filled it with love for family and friends while exhibiting a philanthropic spirit with grace and dignity. Her generosity to those who bring Italian culture into the community is a gift to us all. Amelia Viola Gallucci-Cirio was the definition of "role model" for the 21st century. Survivors include her sisters Christine Gallucci of Phoenix and Anne Sweeney of Woodbury, Connecticut, a brother Donald of Phoenix and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by husband Aldo Cirio, brothers Joseph L. Gallucci and Thomas Gallucci and a sister Concetta Piazza.
Visitation was held at 9 a.m. with Funeral Mass at 10 a.m., Friday, June 11, 2010 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 4715 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, Ariz. Interment will be at St. James Cemetery, Naugatuck, Connecticut. Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home is handling arrangements for the family in Connecticut.
Those who wish to continue Mrs. Gallucci-Cirio's support of Italian culture may make memorial donations to the Center for Italian Culture Endowment at Fitchburg State College, c/o the Fitchburg State College Foundation, Inc., 160 Pearl St., Fitchburg, MA 01420.