BOSSIER CITY - Josephine Lanza Lombardino, 100, a loving, devoted, wife, mother and grandmother, passed away on Saturday, March 9, 2013 surrounded by those who loved her. She was born September 1, 1912 to parents, Giuseppe and Rosaria DeFatta Lanza, natives of Cefalu, Sicily.
A Funeral Mass for Mrs. Lombardino will be celebrated at 12 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2013 at Christ the King Catholic Church. Officiating will be Father Charles Glorioso. Entombment will follow at Forest Park Cemetery on St. Vincent Ave., Shreveport, LA. The family will receive friends from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at Rose-Neath Bossier. At 7 p.m. there will be a Vigil Service followed by the Rosary.
"Miz Josephine", as she was affectionately known, was a long time resident of Bossier City. For 30 years she co-owned and operated the historic Amber Inn Restaurant in Bossier City, LA with her husband Charlie and brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Buddy and Lucille Lombardino.
Throughout her 100 years, Josephine was continually active in community, church and cultural activities. Josephine was not only a Leader and Matriarch in the Italian-American community; she occupied that role for Bossier City as well. She was selected as Catholic Daughter of the Year for the State of Louisiana and named Worker of the Year by the Immaculate Conception Society. On her 100th birthday, Mayor "Lo" Walker declared September 2012 Josephine Lombardino Month in Bossier City in recognition of her many contributions to the city. Following her retirement, she and husband Charlie operated the Shreveport Farmer's Market for 14 years.
Josephine was a legendary storyteller. She never tired of recalling the history and traditions of her Sicilian heritage, culture and its people. Whether it was the story of her family's return to Sicily in the 1920's, her subsequent life in pre-war Cefalu, their eventual re-immigration to America or her time spent at Ellis Island when she was 12. At the age of 97, she served as Guest Lecturer on the Sicilian Immigrant Experience at the Robinson Film Center during its Italian Film Festival. She often spoke of the 20-year courtship with her husband Charlie, their eventual honeymoon in Havana, Cuba and life in Shreveport and Bossier during the Great Depression and World War II.
One of her greatest achievements was her role in preserving and promoting her Italian culture, heritage and its traditions. In 1981, Josephine, with other members of the Immaculate Conception Society, published a cookbook, "Cucinare Con Amore-Cookingwith Love". They sought to and did preserve for future generations, the art of Sicilian cooking. Josephine had the privilege of authoring the cookbook's dedication. For over 50 years, she was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Progressive Men's Club.
Josephine was well known for her devotion to and love of St. Joseph. It began many years ago in Shreveport's Little Italy, when St. Joseph Altars were commonly held in the homes of Italian-Americans. She often said that St. Joseph has been answering her prayers for 100 wonderful years. She also felt that her life had been enriched by the many wonderful people who asked her to pray to St. Joseph on their behalf, because they knew of her love and devotion to him. She often said "I am so blessed". For over 30 years, she worked tirelessly on St. Joseph Altars, which were held throughout the area. Every year she could be counted on to make coconut lambs, doll eggs and biscotti to grace the altar tables.
Josephine was a member of Christ the King Catholic Church since her marriage to Charlie in 1950, where she was active in all of its social and fund raising activities, particularly the spaghetti and lasagna dinners.
Josephine loved her family and friends and they loved her and were devoted to her for her entire life. Throughout her life, she was a devoted mother to her children Judi, Charles Ray and Debbie and a devoted grandmother to Danielle. She often said about her son-in-law Joe "I told Judi to find and marry a man like her father and she did."
She possessed and cultivated loving friends of all ages. She was generous in spirit and had the unique ability to touch the spirit of all who met her. Mom believed that there are no bad days.
Josephine loved ballroom dancing with her husband Charlie. Until his death at the age of 96, they would dress in tuxedo and evening gown, and join their friends monthly at the Amigas. She was a devoted fan of the New Orleans Saints and particularly admired Drew Brees. On Saturday nights you could always find her watching her favorite television program, "The Lawrence Welk Show". She was an avid gardener, but loved her beautiful roses the best. Her roses, a gift from Charlie, were often the talk of the neighborhood. It was often said by those who knew them, that Charlie continued to speak to her through his roses. At Christmas, she would elaborately decorate her home, particularly the outside with the Holy Family.
She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Charlie; brothers, Tony and John Lanza and sisters, Rose Brocato, Alice Willie and Mary Culotta.
She is survived by her son, Charles Ray Lombardino; daughters, Debbie Lombardino, Judi Lombardino Caccioppi and husband Joseph; granddaughter, Danielle Lombardino, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Her life was filled with special and loving friends, Gaye, Maye, Betty, Connie, Mary, Patti, Lydia, John, Steve, Lillie, Sam and Jerri, Art and Rheta, Michael and Anne, Larry and Paula, Marie, Jimmy and Debbie, and Father Charles.
Honoring "Miz Josephine" as pallbearers will be, Tommy Brocato, Jimmy Harris, Michael Lombardino, Jr., Patrick Lombardino, Steve Walker and John Wilson.
Special thanks to Dr. Joseph Jones, Dr. Paul Cole, Dr. Randy Bryn and Kristi, her home health team, Bonnie, Aimee, Sam, Jimmy and Karen and the nursing staff at WK North. The family would like to express our love and thanks to Linda, Audrey, Joan, Denova, Shirley, Myrtle and Stacy for their friendship, devotion and loving care of our mom.