ALBANY – Margaret Salvatora Cotazino (Zullo) was welcomed into eternal life just in time for Valentine’s Day by her beloved husband, “Sentimental Joe,” on February 12, 2021. Born in Albany’s South End (lower Madison Ave) on April 3, 1927 to the late Joseph and Paola [Bartillilo] Zullo, Margaret and Joe proudly lived in Albany all of their lives, raising their family, building friendships, establishing careers, and living their retirement years watching their family grow and surrounded by those they love. Margaret S. Zullo and Joseph M. Cotazino Sr. were married on April 11, 1948 in St. Anthony’s Church, and were life-long members of St. Margaret Mary’s (All Saints) Parish since 1951. During 64 years of marriage, they were blessed with 5 children, 6 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. Professionally, Margaret worked for the State of NY for 30+ years until her retirement in 2000. Mom had a “green thumb” and nurtured all living things. She was famous for her luxurious multi-species violets, which grew like small shrubs throughout her living room. In addition to plants, Mom nurtured relationships with whomever she came into contact. Anyone who associated with Mom thrived in her presence; she always paid attention to the little things going on in your life and remembered them the next time she saw you, making you feel special. No one was a stranger to Mom. From when we were little children until her death many years later, we remember Mom reciting the birthdays and anniversaries of everyone she had ever known – and also sending them cards on their special occasions, regardless of whether they were still in contact with her! Mom referred to it as “spreading the love” and it sure did.
Mom was a non-stop Baker! A container full of her homemade holiday strudels, snowball and meatball cookies, anisette biscotti, and apple sauce cake was a treasure to be savored. Her Banana Bread was made-to-order (no nuts? no problem); you would try not to eat the whole thing slathered in butter or cream cheese when you got home. Walking up her driveway was a sensory feast! The challenge of that day would be to guess what she was cooking before you entered her house.
And the Meals she would cook! It didn’t have to be a special occasion to walk in the kitchen while she was making her Homemade manicotti or lasagna and meatballs, twice-dipped chicken patties (handed out in foil parcels to whomever walked in the door that day), or impromptu steaming bowls of Peas-and-macaroni, ladled from a large tureen and topped with grated pecorino romano cheese, when anyone visited during lunch time. We were always loaded with delicious to-go containers with whatever was Mom’s inspiration to cook that day.
Mom took the bus back and forth to work for more than 30 years. During her 5 mile ride, She crocheted an Afghan for each child, letting us choose our own colors. Each Afghan was 30 squares that ultimately she crocheted into one large Afghan. She would try to crochet one square a week on the bus, depending on how many people stopped to chat with her, she said. When yours was finally finished, you could see Mom’s Labor of Love in each crocheted petal.
Our Dad predeceased our Mom on August 16, 2012, and from that day forward until her death Mom became a strong widow for the sake of her family. Surviving are their 5 children, the twinkle-in-their-parents’-eyes: daughter Paula Begley (Jim); daughter Constance Jarratt (Jim); son Joseph M. Cotazino Jr. (Joy); son John F. Cotazino (Jackie); and son Christopher E. Cotazino. They are also survived by their 6 cherished grandchildren: James Begley (Brooke); Joseph M. Cotazino III (Laura); Maria Cotazino (Zachery); Candace Cotazino; Nicole Cotazino; and Laura Curtis (Mark); as well as 10 treasured great-grandchildren: Lorenzo, Jade, Christopher, Ondrea, Giovanni, Niko, Talia, Tressa, Anthony, and Patrick. Mom is also survived by Sister-in-law Lena Zullo, as well as many treasured nieces and nephews who have enriched her life. Mom was the sole surviving sibling of her family, predeceased by her brother Anthony Zullo (Lena), and sisters Frances Bruno (Patrick), Carmella Winglosky (Joseph), Maria Santa Maria (Anthony), and Josephine Virgilio (Frank).
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Jack & Mary Kent for their continued friendship and love, as well as devotion to our parents these many years, and also to lifelong neighbors Deb, Maria, and Jean. Mom built special friendships and memories over the years during her “retiree outings” with Loretta, Heidi, Bettina, Freida, Judy, and Joan; all remained very special in her heart.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 18th, at Christ the King Catholic Church, 20 Sumter Avenue, Guilderland, with Calling Hours at the Church before, from 10a.m.-12:00p.m. Interment to follow at Our Lady of Angels Cemetery, Albany. Mom and Dad were generous of heart and lifelong contributors to St. Jude’s Hospital. In lieu of flowers, donations in their Memory may be made to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; 501 St. Jude Place; Memphis, TN 38105 or 1-800-822-6344. To leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit www.HansFuneralHome.com.