Rose Marie Grzella died Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, at CareOne at Somerset Valley in Bridgewater. She was 100 years old.
Rose Grzella was born on Jan. 27, 1920, in Brooklyn, N.Y. As a small child, she, her parents, Charles and Amelia Serretti, and two brothers, Frank and Charles Serretti Jr., moved to Linden, N.J., where she grew up.
After graduating high school, Rose worked in a lamp factory. Following the outbreak of World War II, Rose began working in the Linden's GM auto factory, which converted to producing airplanes for the war effort. For three years, Rose worked as an inspector as the planes rolled off the assembly line. If she said the planes weren't safe to fly, they never left the building!
In early 1945, she met Joseph Grzella, of Herkimer, N.Y., on a blind date. They married in September of 1945. Six weeks after their marriage, Joe was drafted into the occupation forces and shipped off to Japan. He was there for a year.
After Joe returned to the U.S., the couple started their life together. They bought a house in Warren, N.J., in 1950 and raised their three children -- Joan, Jim and Paul -- there. While Joe worked, Rose helped her parents and children, and also volunteered for different church and local groups. Later in life, she and Joe were very involved in the Warren Senior Citizens, and served in different leadership positions for nearly 20 years.
After a long illness, Joe died in his home on Nov. 5, 2008, under the loving watch and care of Rose. She lived in her home independently until 2017. After a fall, she moved to CareOne at Somerset Valley. There she celebrated her 100th birthday this past January with two parties: one with friends and family, and the other with her fellow residents and Bridgewater Mayor Matthew C. Moench, who presented a proclamation to Rose.
Rose is survived by her daughter, Joan Church and her husband, Donald Church; her son, James Grzella, and his wife, Young Grzella; and her son, Paul Grzella, and his husband, Edward Edwards. Also surviving are her granddaughter, Anna Grzella; her granddaughter, Melissa May and her husband, Jesse May; and four great-grandchildren, Kaitlin, Thomas, Nicholas and Jonathon May; as well as two grand-dogs, Perpetua and Augustine. She is also survived by a dear friend, Carolyn Sampson, who visited Rose several times a week wherever Rose lived.
While many close to her predeceased her, Rose never lost her deep faith, and her ability to say thank you for the blessings and friends she had throughout her long life.
The family thanks the staff members at CareOne at Somerset Valley, who provided loving care to Rose for the past three years, and particularly for their efforts since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Rose had the virus in April but came through it because of the care she received from the entire team. The family is also grateful for the attention and care provided by Ascend Hospice nurse Dawn Stephens-Gooden over the last year of Rose’s life. These health-care workers are compassionate warriors.
A viewing will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept.15, 2020, at Our Lady of the Mount Chapel in Warren. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. at the chapel; interment will follow at St. Gertrude’s Cemetery in Colonia.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Rose’s memory may be made to Our Lady of the Mount Church.
Arrangements are by Higgins Home for Funerals in Watchung.