Theresa Niccolai Cagnola went to be with our Heavenly Father on Thursday, February 11, 2010. She was born on the island on February 3, 1926, to Maria and Armando Niccolai. Theresa and her brother were both born on the island, however, her parents and sister were born in Italy in small villages outside of the city of Lucca. She was very proud of her Italian heritage and spoke Italian fluently. She was an amazing Italian cook and over the years probably fed every kid that went to Catholic school. Theresa had a sharp wit and made her family laugh out loud on many occassions. Theresa and Donna spent literally thousands of hours at MD Anderson for doctor’s appointments, blood transfusions, and hospitalizations; through all of it Theresa maintained her sense of humor in the most difficult of times. She didn’t always make life easy but she certainly always made it interesting. Theresa had the assurance of her everlasting life which sustained her and gives great comfort to her family. Other than her children and grandchildren she loved her niece Marie Walton with her whole heart. Her family will draw strength through their faith and through the fact that she was such a strong, brave, beautiful woman. Thank each of you for being here to honor our Mom, our Meem, Aunt and Friend.She was preceded in death by her husband John, her sister Olga and brother Augustino.
Theresa is survived by her daughter, Donna Cagnola Gilmer and her husband, Ben; her son, John Cagnola and wife, Diane; three grandchildren: John Cagnola, IV, Tabitha Cagnola Maxwell and her husband, Drew, and Maggie Gilmer; and one great grandchild, Kayla Cagnola; as well as numerous other relatives and friends.
Theresa’s family will receive visitors beginning at 9:30 am, Saturday, February 13th, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Funeral Mass will begin at 10:30 am at the church, followed by burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery. Donna, Ben and Maggie want to thank the team at MD Anderson that cared for Theresa for the past two years. With great compassion, dignity and most of all laughter, Adrien, Corey and Dr. Borthakur always gave them hope. A very special thank you also goes out to Kathy Starke who came into the family’s life as a caregiver and became so much more. Without her prayers, love and the assistance that she gave the family Theresa would not have been able to maintain her care at MD Anderson. Kathy is greatly loved.
Memorials may be made to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, P O Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486.