Carmela Maher, 92, died peacefully at home on Saturday, December 26, 2020 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Carmela was born October 11, 1928 in New York, New York to Joseph and Rita (Pierri) Giordano. Carmela is preceded in death by her only sister, Cecilia Rubino, and her beloved husband Tom whom she married on June 29, 1952 in Queens, New York. She is survived by her: two brothers Frank Giordano and Joe Giordano; four sons Gary (and his wife Elizabeth), Joe (and his wife Jana), Tommy (and his wife Yvette), and Frank (and his wife Tracy); three granddaughters Tricia Maher, Lee Tomberlin (and her husband John), Lauren Barthle (and her husband Joe); six grandsons Travis Valdez (and his wife Andrea), Zachary Maher (and his wife Brittany), Austin Maher (and his wife Sara), Buck Maher (and his wife Alecia), Joe Maher (and his wife Michaela), Sal Arena (and his wife Sarah); 13 great granddaughters Tisha Herrera, Jada Valdez, Selena Valdez, Averie Leyba, Isabella Maher, Brynlee Maher, Sunny Maher, Brooklyn Maher, Addie Maher, Rylee Tomberlin, Brystol Maher, Lillie Maher, Briar Maher; 12 great grandsons Gavin Leyba, Landon Tomberlin, Jaxon Tomberlin, Brody Tomberlin, Troy Maher, Channing Maher, Luke Barthle, Levi Maher, Max Barthle, Asher Arena, Matthew Maher, Gunner Maher; and great great granddaughter Essence Lopez; and great great grandson Jaxon Trujillo.
Carmela inhaled her last earthly breath and inhaled all the glory of eternity on December 26, 2020 at 1:28 pm. Escorted with Tommy holding her right hand, Gary’s hand on her heart, Yvette praying over her, the song “I Give You My Heart” playing on Carmela’s Google Mini, and Jesus holding her left hand. She went into His loving presence with a knowing peace of where she was going, her heavenly home. Surrounded by her family, by God’s mercy, she passed from her beloved home on Trout Creek Court.
Carmela’s final days in her earthly body were bittersweet as she battled her long time COPD, onset of congestive heart failure, and most recently, broken hip, cancer, pneumonia, and stroke. We have referred to Carmela as the cat with MANY lives as she rebounded through such adversity in her health. She was a force and an overcomer! Two words were used frequently by everyone who knew her — “Rare & Remarkable!” These days were bittersweet with the pain of her illnesses, but the sweetness of many, many blessings that came in her “final chapter’ here on earth.
Carmela was born to Papa and Nanny (Joseph and Rita Giordano) from Bitrito, (Bari), Italy. Her birthday of 11 October was one of her final milestone goals. She, in her hardheaded and strong-willed way, determined that she would turn 92 with a family gathering, which occurred on the 11th of October 2020 with a huge gathering at her home. When asked why it was so important to reach her 92nd birthday, in typical Carmela fashion, she said “Because I look damn good!”
As a gift to her family on her 92nd birthday, she gave everyone a planter with her name and a “Let Love Grow – Carmela’s Garden 2020 – With LOVE you’re keeping this garden alive.”
Her name Carmela is Hebrew/Italian and means “Garden.” Her message was for everyone to first add the soil of Jesus Christ into their planters and then everything added after that would grow. This was also her lesson to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and friends — keep Jesus as the priority and everything after that will grow.
She married Tom Maher, an Irish/German Navy man who swept into her life and gave her what she most desired, love, a home, and four sons that were, as she often said, “all her own.” Growing up without the earthly wealth of some, Carmela said when she got her boys, she was over the moon with joy because they were “hers!” They were, without a doubt from anyone, her pride and joy. Carmela has but one requirement for her obituary, and that was “I want it known that I love all of my son’s more than they know and that I’m gonna miss them like hell.”
Like most boys, they all still fight to this day for that place of honor of being her favorite! And the thing is, she had them all believe, sincerely, that whoever she was speaking to at the time, held that place. They all know deeply how loved they were by their mother. Her love greatly extended to her grandchildren and great grandchildren who each knew the love, and very loud kisses in their ears from their beloved Grandma Maher.
Carmela worked for Day’s Drugstore and E. J. Korvettes Department Store while raising her boys in Deer Park, New York and as usual made incredible friends and had endless stories of her days in the early years. After moving to Colorado, she rose early to “make the donuts” and get the coffee ready at Dunkin Donuts, then at Lot’s O Bagels, and finally up to the age of 81, worked at Prairie Hills Elementary school as the lunch lady. This is where she and her best friend, Diana, served the children and got into whatever mischief they could find!
Carmela loved life! Especially her life! She loved her things, her way of doing things, and “her tribe!” For Carmela, her love for her family reigned supreme! The way she showered her love was through cooking for them! Her use of all thing’s garlic, basil and olive oil was the magic for her pizza bread, baked macaroni, & stuffed mushrooms! These dishes will never be the same without her touch.
She found a true, beautiful, personal relationship with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ after the passing of her husband in 2009. Jesus became her focus, and the Holy Scripture became her guide as she navigated life without Gramps. She longed to go to Israel! She LONGED to see the land where Jesus walked and to be among her beloved “Jewish friends” that she secretly supported every month. In the many bedside morning routines of coffee and wisdom sessions, Carmela would lean into a daily rhythm of Jesus Calling and discussions of “what matters most.” Carmela found a deeply passionate conviction that EVERYONE should know Jesus as she did!
In these past weeks while living with Carmela, the family has had the greatest treasure of time and stories. We all have unique memories of how hard she fought, how miraculous she was, and how every day whether difficult or sweet, would forever change us. These weeks of what we are calling our “Long Goodbye” have been the greatest of invitations from the Lord. We have gathered with the intentionality of “leaning in” to be with Carmela in the “last chapter” of her story. We have captured stories, pictures, videos and reflected on a life well lived and well loved. As we celebrate the well lived life of this beautiful, vivacious, strong willed, woman; our prayer is that each one of her “tribe” walk away with a lesson on life.
There will never be another Carmela. On some days we have given thanks for that (LOL) but most certainly, she will leave a hole that only her memory, the Lord and her legacy will fill.
We love and will most certainly miss you, our beloved Mom, Carmela (Carmie), and Grandma!
A memorial mass will be held at St. Mary’s Cathedral located at 22 W Kiowa St, Colorado Springs on Wednesday the 20th of January 2021 at 2:00 p.m. A celebration of her life will be held at the New Life Church World Prayer Center located at 11005 Voyager Pkwy, Colorado Springs on Friday the 29th of January 2021 at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception.