Cover photo for Anita Alberta (Oneglia)  Torizzo's Obituary
Anita Alberta (Oneglia)  Torizzo Profile Photo
1942 Anita 2020

Anita Alberta (Oneglia) Torizzo

February 14, 1942 — November 27, 2020

Harwinton, Connecticut

Anita Alberta Oneglia Torizzo, beloved spouse of 56 years to Ernest Torizzo, peacefully passed away on November 27, 2020. Born in Torrington on February 14, 1942, she was the daughter of the late Virginia and Andrew Oneglia.

Encouraged by her father to study Spanish, she pursued and achieved academic excellence at Torrington High School and throughout her academic career. Inducted into the National Honor Society and voted the best-dressed girl in her class, she caught the eye of Ernie Torizzo, the boy voted most likely to succeed. After graduating, she attended Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, but transferred after one year to Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY to actively pursue her Spanish studies and to be in close proximity to her love interest at Union College in nearby Schenectady.

Shortly after graduating from Skidmore, she married Ernie and began her professional career as a Spanish teacher. She taught at the Westover School in Middlebury, the Forman School in Litchfield, the Litchfield and Washington Montessori Schools, and the Torrington High School, where she also gave ESL instruction. She also tutored in her home and held private classes. Her love for the Spanish culture was evident in every aspect of her life, including her home interior, her paella and arroz con pollo dinners, and her colorful wardrobe.

She was a co-founder of the Litchfield Montessori School and served as head of school for a short term at its Northfield campus. She was also the co-founder of the Children’s Cultural Center, an after school venue for advanced study.

She served on the board of trustees at The Brooker Memorial and the Litchfield Montessori School, and was an advisor to the Neag School of Education at the University of CT.

As a Renaissance woman, she had an unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and boundless energy, and was not limited to one or two pastimes. She was a member of the Litchfield Garden Club, the Harwinton Tennis Club, and the Litchfield Country Club, where she spent many years playing competitive tennis with friends. She attended weekly yoga classes with Ernie, and danced with him or anyone else at every opportunity. She returned to her piano studies throughout her life, and delighted family members at gatherings with her unique rendition of Tennessee Waltz, as well as her favorite Silver Bells at Christmas. She was often accompanied by the clatter of her chunky jewelry on the keyboard. She was an avid swimmer as well as alpine and cross-country skier, gathering like-minded friends and family in Colorado and Norway. Her intellectual curiosity led her around the world, pursuing bible studies in Israel, Nordic history in Scandinavia, and dining with King Juan Carlos of Spain.

As much as she thrived on her intellectual pursuits, she was grounded by her love of family, which was frequently demonstrated with large kettles of soup and generous bowls of fruit. Her children joke about being raised on beet juice, parsley balls and carob. In the 1980s, when there wasn’t an organic blue corn chip within the parameters of northwest Connecticut, she’d caravan with her sisters and nieces to Bread & Circus in South Hadley, Massachusetts, where they’d fill their cars with months’ worth of brown rice, burdock root, and fruit leather, which would inevitably elicit an eye roll or two from their kids back home. But ever determined to provide a healthy foundation on which to build their lives, Anita remained steadfast in her commitment to her family.

Anita never dipped her toes in the water; she dove in. And whatever she did – from compiling an outfit to swiping her phone – she did with a little something extra that was uniquely Anita. She wasn’t one for a splash of color; she wore the entire rainbow, announcing herself with her flair for fashion and her creative and ever-changing eyeglass frames. Her over-the-top Halloween scenes were legendary in her neighborhood, and she’d coerce other members of the family, including her elderly mother, to costume with her and scare trick-or-treaters from the coffin she had made for the occasion. When her sister Barbara was afflicted with cancer, she, along with their sister Cora, dedicated herself to ensuring Barbara had the best possible care. Whether it was making macrobiotic meals or moving to Canada and Germany for months on end for treatment, she was completely devoted. And when Barbara died, she embraced her sister’s family as her own. She hosted every Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration, opening her doors to a seemingly endless parade of relatives who were drawn to the warmth, love, and laughter so evident in her home.

In her later years, she traveled regularly to visit her grandchildren in Colorado and Vermont, taking the eldest to Paris where they toured museums, took a Monet watercolor class at Giverny, and learned to make macarons. Although she somehow managed to avoid changing a single diaper, she imparted the most important life lessons: She taught them self-confidence, how to sip Coca Cola from a crystal glass, and how to keep a secret. She showed them how to laugh with abandon and live their lives to the fullest. One of her great regrets in leaving us was that she wanted more time with the three of them.

She leaves behind her cherished family; husband Ernest, sons Jonathan Torizzo of Boulder, CO and Andrés Torizzo of Burlington, VT, daughter-in-law and dear friend, Margie Torizzo, also of Burlington, VT, grandchildren Ella Rose and Cecilia of Boulder and Dylan of Burlington. She also leaves her loving and devoted sister Cora Regis of Torrington, numerous nieces and nephews, and her dearest friend and college roommate, Unni Cooper and numerous other treasured friends.

She was predeceased by her parents, her brothers and sisters-in-law Francis (Louisa), Raymond (Gloria) and George (Elmira) Oneglia, her sister and brothers-in-law Barbara Alvarez Tycienski (Bob Alvarez and Marty Tycienski), her brothers-in-law Mike Cianciolo and Peter Regis, and her sister-in-law and brother-in-law Bernice and Jack Carroll.

In keeping with Anita’s unflagging commitment to the B.O.A.T Fund, a charitable fund for needy children, established in her sister Barbara’s honor, donations may be directed to The B.O.A.T Fund, c/o Northwest CT Community Foundation, 33 East Main Street, Torrington, CT 06790.

Interment and a celebration of her life will be held when it is safe for family and friends to gather.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Anita Alberta (Oneglia) Torizzo, please visit our flower store.


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