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Elena A Torregrossa
July 21, 1937 ~ November 14, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old
Elena Ann Torregrossa passed away peacefully on November 14, 2023 at her home in Middletown, New Jersey, at the age of 86. Today, her family and friends celebrate her extraordinary life that left all those she touched better for simply having known her.
Elena was born in the Bronx, New York, to her parents Helen and Arthur DeMatteo, but, after losing her mother sadly at the age of two, she was raised and adored by her aunt and mother in every sense, Antoinette DeLuca and her “Papa”, Anthony De Luca. Although an only child, Elena grew up surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins, and learned the importance of family from a young age. A gifted child, she quickly excelled in all she did, with an innate goodness and magnetic pull that drew people to her throughout her life. She enjoyed lifelong friendships, and her oldest and dearest friend of 75 years, Michele Meany, described her as a “natural born leader,” who graduated Mt. Saint Ursula High School as valedictorian, student council president, and everyone’s friend before heading off to Hunter College in New York City to pursue what would be a storied career as an educator and administrator.
While rising to the top of her class at Hunter College, the bubbly girl from the Bronx met a brooding, brilliant engineering student from Brooklyn and the rest was history. Elena fell in love and married Robert Torregrossa in 1960, and began to juggle career and family, starting with her teaching kindergarten in the Bronx with the birth of her daughters Suzanne and Ellen. The young family left the city for the uncharted suburbs of Middletown in 1967, where Elena flourished as she had all of her life, finding her second home in St. Leo the Great School and Parish. She worked at St. Leo’s for thirty-five years, first as a teacher, and, after obtaining her masters and furthering her doctoral studies at Rutgers, served as principal for two decades until her retirement in 2006, transforming the school into a flagship institution, earning its first blue ribbon status on her watch. Her greatest pride came in knowing that she taught, not just her daughters, but her grandsons during her time at St. Leo’s. With her signature vision, faith, dedication, and love for others, she left an indelible mark on the minds and hearts of those she taught, always reinforcing the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Despite all her professional accomplishments, however, her greatest joy was her family. She cared for her husband Robert in later years, with a matchless devotion that was a marvel to behold. She loved her daughters and sons in law deeply, and beamed whenever she spoke of her six grandsons, the true loves of her life.
Elena is predeceased by her parents, her husband Robert, and her son-in-law James Berger. She is survived by her daughter Suzanne Berger Tortorici and son-in-law Jim Tortorici of Tinton Falls and her daughter Ellen Torregrossa-O’Connor and son-in-law John O’Connor of Middletown. She is also survived by her grandsons Nicholas Berger, Alex Berger, Matthew O’Connor, Michael O’Connor, Christian Berger, and Benjamin Tortorici.
There will be a visitation on Friday, November 17, 2023 from 4 – 8 PM at the John E. Day Funeral Home 85 Riverside Ave. Red Bank, N.J. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 9:30 AM at St. Leo R.C. Church in Lincroft, N.J. Entombment to immediately follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Middletown.
In lieu of flowers we appreciate your donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a cause that has meaning to the family. Donations can be mailed to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at 222 Bloomingdale Road White Plains, N.Y. 10605 or can be made on line at www.give.cff.org/greater-newyork
Please visit Elena’s memorial website at www.johnedayfuneralhome.com