NIAGARA FALLS —
Josephine C. Paonessa, 89, formerly of Niagara Falls, NY, passed away on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at her home in Wheatfield, NY. Born in Niagara Falls, NY, she was the daughter of Luigi (the "Ice Man") and Rosaria Cicchini, attending local schools.
Chicky was a born dancer, winning many tap dancing contests during her school years. She danced in the style of her idol, Eleanor Powell, but bringing her own unique style of dancing to the floor. On April 8, 1943, she married the love of her life, Louis J. Paonessa, while he was on leave from the U.S. Navy during World War II, at St. Roch's Church in New York City. During that time she worked at Bell Aircraft until the end of the war, when she and her husband made their home in Niagara Falls, NY. Their love of dancing continued throughout their 66 years of marriage, always the center of the crowd while they showed their skill of jive dancing.
Chicky was active in the PTA, while her daughters were in school, past president of Our Ladies of Charity at St. Joseph's Church, past president of the Women's Cristoforo Colombo Society, and member of Italian Sons & Daughters of America-Cataract Lodge. She was very creative, always having various table decorations and designs while she was an officer of her clubs, as well as her favors for parties and her daughter's weddings. She had cake decorating skills, making doll cakes during the 50's & 60's for many weddings. Her pride of home showed especially at Christmas time when she would decorate their entire home inside and out, winning the Niagara Falls Lighting Contest in the late 60's. Always ready with a joke or funny story, she entertained her friends wherever she was. Her daughters described her as Niagara Falls' own Lucille Ball with some of her zany moments throughout her life.
Chicky is survived by her daughters, Diana (Douglas) Robertson of Wheatfield, NY, Debra (John) Tramontano of Lewiston, NY; grandsons, Douglas L. Robertson and Thomas R. Vitello, Jr., both of Niagara Falls, NY; her brother, James Cicchini of Henderson, NV; nieces, Candy Harris of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and Patricia (Larry) Dau of Henderson, NV; nephews, James Cicchini and Michael Cicchini, both of Las Vegas, NV; and several great-nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Louis J. Paonessa in 2009; her parents, Luigi and Rosaria Cicchini; and brother, Louis Cicchini, Jr.
As per her wishes a private service will be held at the family's convenience. Interment will be in St. Joseph's Cemetery, Niagara Falls, NY.
Visit www.niagara-gazette.com/obituaries for online guest register.