Rachel Gina Traina, 92, died peacefully on Saturday, March 26, 2016. She spent her final days in her home of 57 years, in Delaware Township, New Jersey, surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, overlooking her beloved trees, stone walls and orchard in early bloom. Rachel was born to Rocco and Anna DiLullo Treppiedi, who were immigrants from Chieti, Italy. She was the last surviving sibling of her close-knit family.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 24, 1923, she graduated from Manual Training high School, where she received college scholarships and honors in mathematics and Italian language. But as many people had to at that time, she worked to support her parents and siblings and contributed to the war effort making parachutes, even appearing in a WWII war-bond promotional film. She also worked in the financial district before her marriage to Enrico Traina in 1946.
She moved to rural New Jersey as a young mother and came to love the bucolic richness of the Garden State and often said she could have been happy growing up in the country. She raised five children, first in Princeton, and finally settled in Hunterdon County where she lived out her life on a large landscaped property with orchard, gardens, and acres of beautiful forest. Her home, The Pines, was named for the 90,000 pine trees planted during the depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Divorced in 1969, she was employed by Flemington National bank for 21 years, eventually becoming a branch manager in Sergeantsville, New Jersey. She was strongly committed to her profession and was beloved by many of her customers whom she helped over the years. A dedicated volunteer, she worked as treasurer of Catholic Daughters for 15 years, but her most significant contribution was as treasurer for 29 years for Thanksgiving in the Country; house tours that raised over $550,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Facial Reconstruction Unit. Her enthusiasm pulled in several of her family members who worked side-by-side with her to make the weekend benefit a huge success.
Rachel’s greatest accomplishment, however, and one she noted frequently, was her children. She enormously enjoyed being surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and finally her great grandchildren. “Remember,” she would say, “it’s family. You have to be patient with one another.”
She is survived by her children and their spouses; Mary Traina, (Jeffrey Rubin), Johanna Pfenninger, (Martin Pfenninger), Gerard Traina, (Nancy Traina) and Annalisa Traina, and her daughter-in-law, Carolyn Williams; her grandchildren, Erika Cacsire and Marla St. Gilles and her great-grandchildren, Gabriel, Juliana and Liam. She is also survived by four step-grandchildren, Keshia Williams, Justin Borowsky, Laura Hay and Alex Borowsky. She is survived by one sister-in-law, Ann Treppiedi, and many beloved nieces and nephews. She was also well-loved by her cats, Timothy and Eliza.
She was pre-deceased by her son, Julius Traina, in 2008, and her brother, Nicholas Treppiedi and sisters Rita Kwapinski, Mary Treppiedi, Frances Treppiedi and Sue Fussichen.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 10 AM in St. Magdalen Church, 105 Mine Street, Flemington, NJ. Entombment will be in St. Magdalen Mausoleum. Calling hours will be held on Monday, March 28, 2016 from 7-9 PM and Tuesday, March 29, 2016 from 2-4 and 7-9 PM in the Holcombe-Fisher Funeral Home, 147 Main Street, Flemington, NJ.
Memorial contributions may be made to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Facial Reconstruction Unit, Philadelphia, PA; Arbor Day Foundation (www.arborday.org) or Hunterdon Hospice, (www.hunterdonhealthcare.org).