Grace Rutigliano - Meleo – Was born in the Washington Heights section of the borough of Manhattan, New York City, January 3, 1918. One of 5 siblings (4 girls, 1 boy) and the first to be born in the United States to parents that emigrated from Bari, Italy. Grace did not speak English until 2nd grade, but flourished in her public school education and went on to attend and graduate from Drake Business School in NYC. From there she began working for RKO Theater on Lexington Ave in the City in the bookkeeping and payroll departments. She continued to live in the house she was born in on Audubon Ave. until she met the man that would become her husband, Anthony Meleo. They married on June 7, 1947 and together lived on Troutman Street in Brooklyn, NY until moving to Dunellen, NJ. In 1948 they had the first of three (3) children, a daughter and bought into a 2 family house with her older sister Lena and brother in law Dominick on Grant Ave in Plainfield, NJ where they lived for the next 14 years. In 1962 Anthony and Grace built and moved into their dream home on Susan Court in North Plainfield, NJ. Grace resided in her beloved North Plainfield home for the next 55 years!
Grace celebrated her 100th Birthday on January 3, 2018 and those years have been grand. While she recently sold her dream home, packed with so many terrific and loving memories, she is living the gift of a wonderful life.
Grace spent 40 years married to the love of her life, Anthony and together raised 3 children, a daughter and two sons (Marie, Richard & Robert), who went on to become a Teacher, a Dentist and an Engineer. Along with her 3 children, she has 7 grandkids and 1 great granddaughter who all adore her. When Grace’s children began their college years, she returned to the workforce. In her second stint in the work place, Grace worked 10 years in the business office of HOB Motors on Route 22 in North Plainfield before moving on to work 10 more years at City Federal Savings and Loan in the Mortgage department. After "retiring" she went on to work 20 years for the Election Board, stationed at West End School on Green Brook Road. She put in many long hours on election days where she enjoyed working with many of her friends. She is a charter member of the parish of Saint Luke’s and was on the fund raising team that helped raise monies to get the church building built on Clinton Ave. in North Plainfield that opened its doors April of 1970. She was also a long time member of the Tri County Traveling Seniors, North Plainfield Seniors and St. Luke’s Rosary just to name a few activities that kept her busy. It was not uncommon to see Grace in the North Plainfield Library as she has always been an avid reader and enjoys solving crossword puzzles.
Grace has remained active well into her 90’s having stopped driving at 97 1/2 years old. She freely gives her sage advice to anyone she feels can use it and still enjoys reading and discussing the topics or news of the day. One would be put to the test trying to out do Grace while watching “Jeopardy” or “Wheel of Fortune”. While she still enjoys reading and watching TV, she looks forward to hearing from and talking with her friends. Grace’s main passion these days (as always) is spending time and celebrating life with her family.
She is predeceased by her husband, Anthony Meleo; her daughter, Marie Hartmann; granddaughter, Megan Hartmann and her siblings, Lena Ignoscia, Virginia King and Jerry Rutigliano.
Surviving are her sons, Richard Meleo and his wife, Joann and Robert Meleo and his wife, Patricia; her grandchildren, Nicole O’Donnell and her husband, Jerry, Christina Scholl and her husband, Trevor, Adam Meleo, Anthony Meleo, Alexis Meleo and Matthew Meleo; her great-granddaughter, Peyton Scholl and her son-in-law, Edmund Hartmann.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, January 28th from 2 to 5 pm at Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd., Watchung, NJ 07069. Funeral services will begin on Monday at 9 am at the funeral home followed by a 10 am Funeral Mass at St. Luke’s Church. Interment will be at Hillside Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Jude’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105-9959 or to the American Heart Association PO Box 417005 Boston MA 02241-7005.