Ann Leonelli

Ann Leonelli went home to her Lord Jesus on Monday, August 3rd, 2020. Her beautiful earthly life began on October 10, 1936 when she was born to Philip and Catherine (Larusso) Fortunato in Newark, NJ.

As a young child, Ann had a loving and personal relationship with Jesus, spending time talking to Him via the Sacred Heart statue atop her parent’s dresser. She even composed a poem for Him. It would seem that these early, intimate encounters with Jesus left a permanent, child-like mark upon her soul.

As a young woman, the call to the vocation of wife and mother prompted her to make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec, Canada. There she prayed, “St. Anne, St. Anne…send me a man!” Upon returning, she was re-introduced to Matthew Leonelli who shared a common cousin with her. It truly was love at first sight for Matt, and on April 20, 1958, they were married.

Ann saw everything through the filter of the Divine Will. She chose a wedding dress that had enough material to provide a chasuble should God bless her with a priest-son (this was fulfilled 50 years later when her son Louis was ordained) She invited the Blessed Virgin Mary to her wedding, and there upon the head table was a statue of Mary, greeting her and her new husband. She and Matthew prayed the rosary on the way to their honeymoon. She and “Marty” invited Jesus and His Mother into their lives.

God blessed this couple with six children over the next six years. Ann would often say she enjoyed her life and wouldn’t have it any other way. Both Mom and Dad gave their children a living example of Christian love…love of God and love of neighbor. Their lessons in love took root in the hearts of all their children.

Trials come and go in everyone’s life. Ann was always accepting of whatever God permitted. Never judgmental, she was not afraid to speak the truth in love. She was a living example of unconditional love for family, friends and strangers. She never worried or became flustered, even as her health declined in her later years. Her response to difficulties was to grab her rosary and ask Mother Mary to intercede. She never complained despite all her physical ailments. She never failed to offer her radiant smile and her kind and encouraging words to anyone she met.

The family members she leaves behind to carry on her legacy of love include her husband, Matthew of Greenville, SC.: her children, Theresa (Daniel) McAvinney of Westfield, VT, Fr. Louis Marie CFR of Bronx, NY, Twins Philip (Kirsten) of Simpsonville, SC and Nicholas (Jody) of Cranford, NJ, Sr. Mary Matthew APB of Manchester, NH, and Matthew (Sandy) of Union, NJ. She also leaves 12 grandchildren, 19 great-grand children and 2 great-grandchildren on the way. She is survived by her sister, Marie Gagliardo of Naples, FL and many other extended family members.

She was pre-deceased by her little pre-born great-granddaughter, lovingly named Ann, and her brother-in-law Frank Gagliardo.

If Ann could leave us with one thought, it would be that we should do all things with love, for it is the only way to make the word a better place.

Dear Ann, please pray for us!

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated by her son, Fr. Louis Leonelli on Thursday, August 6th, 2020 at 2:00 PM at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Roman Catholic Church in Simpsonville with internment in Cannon Memorial Park.

In Lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be sent in Ann’s name to the Adorers of the Precious Blood, 700 Bridge Street, Manchester, NH 03104.

Condolences to the family of Ann Leonelli

  • Emma Carver
    4 months ago

    My sweet Mrs Ann , I will
    Miss you greatly! You lived
    A perfect example of how we as Christians should live. You always pointed me to Jesus and gave me beautiful advice. I know God will give your sweet family peace during this time of grief
    My love always
    Emma, Tom and Madison Carver

  • Kathy Reilly
    4 months ago

    Love lives on forever.

    Until we meet again, we too long to unite ourselves with Jesus Our Lord and Savior who died so we could have eternal life.
    Thank you Ann for your example of true love.
    In JMJ
    Kathy

  • Heather Willovit
    4 months ago

    My deepest Condolences for the Leonelli family with the loss of a beautiful caring woman. Ann was always smiling and such a sweet loving woman that never had an unkind word for anyone. She leaves a legacy of good behind her. She will be missed and never forgotten.

  • This is the most beautiful obituary about a life well lived through Jesus and Mary. We have shared this obituary to people we know because it is such a wonderful example of true testament of faith along with the acceptance and willingness to accept God’s love and abide by His will.
    May your beautiful wife and mother rest safely in the arms of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
    Our condolences for the whole Leonelli family.

    May God Bless,
    Matthew and Denise Mannino

  • Joanna Schwartz
    4 months ago

    Our deepest condolences to the Leonelli family for the loss of the kindest, most caring person we all had the privilege of knowing. I will always cherish the time spent with Ann at family gatherings where she always had kind words for everyone. May her memory never fade, and her legacy of goodness last forever.

  • Patricia Russillo
    4 months ago

    Dear Godmother Ann, You are a cherished blessed soul. The sweet arms of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph will be comforting you. I will remember all the good times we had at your home in Roselle with Godfather Marty and your adorable children. You are family to us. Mom adored you and there was always a smile on her face with enthusiasm when she would see or talk with you. Dad was always looking forward to our visits and you making the waffles and ice cream. Myself – Godchild Patricia, Mark and Gerard will always remember you in our thoughts and prayers until we meet again. To all in the family, our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers. You are a beautiful family and blessed.

  • Matthew, Theresa, Fr. Louis Marie, Philip, Nicholas, Sr. Mary Matthew, Matthew, and Families, on behalf of the 4th Degree Members of the Knights of Columbus of Vermont, please accept our condolences…Every Knight of Columbus is entrusted to the care of Mary, the Mother of God, and we carry the Rosary as the sign of our dedication to her and to her Son. Confident in her motherly love for us all, we entrust the soul of our Sister, Ann, to her, that she may present her to her Son. As an expression of our fraternal concern and as the District Master of the 4th Degree of Vermont, I will pray the rosary of Our Lady in her honor. May God’s Grace be a shining light in your hearts for those we love don’t go away, they are walking besides us every day.

  • Shawn Willis
    4 months ago

    I am saddened by your loss however, we celebrate the life of Ann. We know she is watching down from Heaven. My thoughts and prayers are with the Leonelli family.

  • Mary Ann Turner
    4 months ago

    My heart is pained to learn our dear Ann went to be with our Lord. I wish I had learned of her passing sooner instead of a day after her service. I am so sorry I was not there. Please accept my deepest condolences and my prayers for you Matt and your entire family.

  • Beverly Pynne
    4 months ago

    My Neighbor and Friend what a beautiful life she lived. Always with a SMILE on her face. She will me greatly missed. We will keep your Family in Our thoughts and prayers.Love Beverly Pynne and Family

  • Patricia ONeill, CFR Lay Associate
    3 months ago

    Dear family of Ann Leonelli,

    I express my deepest sympathy to all of Ann’s family.
    How beautiful that you were sure to have enough material on your wedding dress to be used as a chasuble for your son who became a priest. Fr Louis, CFR.
    Fr Louis is a wonderful and beautiful priest. It is only because I am a CFR Lay Associate, that I have had the pleasure and blessing of meeting Fr. Louis.
    Once again, my condolences to all the Leonelli family members for the painful loss of your beloved Ann.
    God Bless you and I will keep your family in prayer.

  • Barry and Jayne Sahagian
    2 months ago

    Annie, We were saddened to learn of your passing. Barry and I were just recently talking about you and Matt and then suddenly we heard of you.

    I know you will be missed. We will miss all the good times we shared, you and Matt, Barry and I.

    You were a soft, gentle soul. RIP

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