Anita Mary Clowry, 97, a long-time resident of Colorado Springs, passed away peacefully on Monday, August 29th in Colorado Springs, CO.
She was born February 28, 1925, in Oak Park, IL – the fifth of seven children born to Joseph and Cassandra (Mariani) Caldarulo who immigrated to America from Capurso, Puglia, Italy. Anita was a life-long devout Roman Catholic and a member of Sacred Heart Parish.
In high school, Anita’s mischievous streak started when she told her parents she was going out with friends but didn’t fill them in on the details: Frank Sinatra was performing in Chicago, and she was going to see him. Frank’s voice would serve as the soundtrack to just about every special moment for the rest of her life. In 1941, when Anita was just sixteen, she met a nineteen-year-old budding crooner, whose voice and charm matched (and whose looks surpassed) Sinatra’s. His name was John “Jack” Patrick Clowry, Jr. Anita, or as Jack called her “Neets”, “just melted” when she saw his killer blue eyes and Irish good looks. They met after he started singing in a local band that performed at her high school dance. He left soon after they met to train as an Army Aviation Cadet. Anita thought that it was the first and last time she would ever see Jack.
But in August 1946, after returning from WWII, Jack was still thinking about Neets and called her “right out of the blue” to see if he still had a chance. They fell in love immediately.
However, Anita received a job offer to become a flight attendant with Trans World Airlines just as she and Jack had reconnected. Anita loved to tell the story that Jack tore up her job acceptance letter during a dinner date at Chicago’s Ambassador Hotel. “Forget that offer,” he said. “You’re gonna’ marry me!” The rest is history…
Jack and Neets were married on April 12, 1947. Following their honeymoon, they drove to Olmstead AFB, near Harrisburg, PA where their first daughter, JoAnn was born in 1948.
Jack’s career in the Air Force took the family around the country, yet Anita always managed to make a home for her family. That meant multiple tours, countless moves, wartime separations, and boxes of letters documenting their love. It did not, however, stop them from hosting unforgettable cocktail and dinner parties and raising a beautiful family of five daughters who adored their mom and dad.
Family was always what mattered most to Anita. She cooked classic Italian meals – spaghetti and braciole with the Caldarulo marinara recipe and leg of lamb that her kids, grandkids, and even great-grandkids still crave to this day. She threw countless parties that started with cocktails and ended with her whole family dancing in unison to “Luck Be A Lady.” When she wasn’t entertaining, she was there for her girls, always giving them a word of encouragement or a hard truth when they needed it. But if you got on her nerves, she let you know it by speaking her own rendition of Italian that sent many-a-grandkid running. Following Jack’s passing in 2000, Anita was fortunate to have kind and caring friends and neighbors who kept her company and took great joy in hers.
Now forever joined with Jack, Anita’s family continues to grow and carry on the love and life she gave them, including Jo Ann (Nick) Ertz of Bolingbrook, IL, Susan (Joe) Novich of Colorado Springs, CO, Cathy (Dave) Mayer of Aurora, CO, Cassandra (Jeff) Clowry-Baillio of Albuquerque, NM, Jackie (Mark) Platek of Broomfield, CO; as well as twelve grandchildren, Jason, Matthew, Sarah, Kathryn, Celeste, Marisa, Mitchell, Colin, Kelsey, Kaley, Holly, and Jenna; eight great-grandchildren (plus one on the way); and a great-great granddaughter. She was preceded in death by her husband Jack, both parents, her six siblings, and one grandson, Christopher.
Anyone who had the privilege of being in Anita’s presence knows you didn’t just meet her – you experienced her. She was one of a kind. We will miss and celebrate her every day.
“You only go around once, but if you play your cards right, once is enough.” – Frank Sinatra
Visitation will be at 9:00 a.m. followed by the rosary at 9:30 a.m. and a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial all at Sacred Heart Parish, 2030 W. Colorado Ave., Colorado Springs, CO on Wednesday, September 7th, 2022.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Colorado.