Maria Rotunno Rea, passed away suddenly on December 30, 2020 at her residence.
A resident of West Chester, PA for 40 years, she was the wife of the Dario Rea for 48 years, who predeceased her in 2005.
Born in Avondale, PA, she was the daughter of the late Albert Rotunno and Henrietta Daiuta Rotunno, life-long residents of West Grove.
Surviving are her son and daughter-in-law, Carlo V. Rea and Donna M. Rea, two grandsons, Robert V. Rea and Joseph A. Rea; brother and sister-in-law, Louis and Deena Rotunno; sister and brother-law, Grace and Paul Bove; and numerous nieces and nephews, all of West Grove.
Mrs. Rea was a well-known soprano in the Chester County area during the late 1940s and early 1950s. She was leading soloist at the church of the Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary in West Grove, she sang at many functions throughout the area including leading roles in the re-productions of Broadway shows popular during those years at Longwood Gardens.
Graduated with honors from Avon Grove High School in 1951 and the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music in 1955 with a Bachelors Degree in the Arts, and a Teachers Degree in Vocal Studies.
In 1956 she was awarded a partial scholarship to continue her vocal studies in Rome with Maestra Enrichetta Graziani, former teacher at the Academia di Santa Cecelia, noted Music School in Rome. After two years of training, she made her Italian debut in Southern Italy singing the role of GILDA in the opera, 'Rigoletto";'subsequent operatic performances in Rome as NORINA in "DON PASQUALE", and MUSETTA in "LA BOHEME".
Maria lived and worked in New York City for one year while she studied with Maestra Winifred Cecil, noted vocal coach and organizer of Carnegie Hall recitals for her students when they were ready to perform; mentor to many of the artists of the Metropolitan Opera.
Before she was ready to make a New York debut, returned in June, 1959 to marry her fiance at the Basilca of Saint Peter in Rome. During the time needed to await her husband's visa to come to the United States, she appeared at many concerts in the central Italian countryside.
The couple returned to the United States in January, 1960; moved to Los Angeles California in November of that year. They resided in that city for 20 years where their son was born in 1965.
In Los Angeles, Maria worked with the Community College's GIFTED CHILDRENS' ASSOCIATION, serving on their executive board for 6 years. The family returned to the West Chester area in 1980 to be close to Maria's family.
She was an employee of the Chester County Hospital for 20 years, where she began in the Medical Records Dept., later serving for 14 years as Director of Admissions.
After retirement, Maria worked as a volunteer for the Salvation Army of West Chester for 10 years; she considered this work the most satisfying she had ever done.
Other than her first passion for her music, Maria was a lover of the arts, painted during her early years; wrote and read with much satisfaction and immensely enjoyed decorating and furnishing her home with her husband when he was living. Her family was the most important aspect of her life in many ways, and she found much gratification in being with them as much as possible.
Relatives and friends are invited to her Visitation on January 8, 2021 from 10:00 am – 10:45 am at St. Agnes Church. 233 W. Gay St. West Chester, PA; followed by her Funeral Mass at 11:00 am.
Interment will be in St. Agnes Cemetery, West Chester, PA
Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home of West Chester, PA 610.696.1181 www.DellaFH.com