Latterina “Lolly” Virginia (Iacampo) Grello, 100, formerly of Cranston and Narragansett, RI, and Boynton Beach, FL passed away Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at Roberts Health Centre in North Kingstown, RI. She was the loving wife of the late Anthony Grello; they were married for 68 years.
In addition to her beloved husband, she was preceded in death by her daughter Frances Girardi and son-in-law Anthony Girardi, her sister Mary Ferruolo and her brothers Michael, Anthony, Joseph, Adam, Frank and Louis Iacampo.
She is survived by her children Anthony Grello and his wife Nancy (Lamson) of Narragansett, RI and Sarasota, FL, and daughter Patricia Cerbo and her husband Vincent of Wakefield, RI and Sarasota, FL.
Lolly was the cherished grandmother of seven grandchildren and their spouses: Kimberly Baxter (Girardi) and her husband Robert of Exeter, RI; Michael Girardi of Narragansett, RI and his late wife Patricia (Marciano); Anthony Girardi and his wife Christine (DiPanni) of Pound Ridge, NY; Dawn Sauro (Grello) and her husband James of Saunderstown, RI; Anthony Grello and his wife Meredith (Hoff) of Onalaska, WI; Jennifer Cowart (Cerbo) and her husband Don of Cranston, RI; Christopher Cerbo and his wife Nina (Tandon) of Marina Del Rey, CA.
She was the proud great-grandmother of 13 great-grandchildren: Victoria and James Sauro; Nicholas, Matthew and Rebecca Girardi; Michael, Emma and Jacob Grello; Caroline, Elizabeth and Alexandra Cowart; Maya and James Cerbo. Her many nieces and nephews also had a special place in her heart.
Lolly was born on May 21, 1920 in Apponaug, RI to the late Francesco Iacampo and Giuseppina (Spaziano) Iacampo. She was a first generation American to two Italian immigrants. The seventh of eight siblings, Lolly lived on a farm with her family in Warwick before moving to Cranston. During her 100 years, she saw 18 US presidents beginning with Warren G. Harding in 1921 and witnessed the first female US vice president being elected in 2021. She lived through several major wars, including World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. She was a child during the Great Depression, was born at the conclusion of the Spanish Flu global pandemic and lived through a second, surviving COVID-19 herself in November of 2020.
Having held many jobs in her lifetime, she worked in a jewelry shop and a shirt factory as well as for Cable Electric, Taco Heating and The Davol Company. However, Lolly’s first job in the jewelry shop was the most noteworthy of all as that led to her meeting her future husband, Anthony Grello.
She enjoyed gathering with friends and was active in Ye Kings Towne Garden Club, the Davol 911 Retirees, the Triangle URI Dinner Group, the South County Senior Sassy Red Hat Women’s Group and the Bonnet Shores Women’s Card Group where she was known as no nonsense and would win most of the time.
Lolly took great comfort in her faith. She was active in both the St. Ann’s and St. Joseph’s ladies clubs while living with her young family in Cranston. Later in her adult years she was an active member of Christ the King Church in Kingston and St. Veronica’s Church in Narragansett as well St. Mark’s Church in Boynton Beach, FL.
She kept in touch with family and friends through frequent card and letter writing. Birthday cards always showed up on time, never missing a beat. Even at 100 Lolly mastered the art of a Zoom visit; she celebrated her 100th birthday virtually with a Zoom party where she was able to visit with 44 loved ones including her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews across nine states and three time zones. She was savvy, sharp to the end, balanced the books like a pro, and was truly the matriarch of her family. Always the optimist, she remained young at heart through all of her 100 years.
Among her many interests, Lolly was a phenomenal cook and baker and was featured three times in the Providence Journal Food section in celebration of both her baking delights and her milestone 100th birthday. She loved traveling, crocheting, playing Bingo, listening to music and watching sports. She was an avid fan of the Red Sox and the Patriots, almost never missing a game. One would think Tom Brady was of her own brood, and that Rob Gronkowski was playing just for her.
Friends were treated to Lolly and Tony’s hospitality at dinners, special events and parties. Her greatest joy, however, was spending time with her family, hosting large family gatherings in her home with Tony. Their door was always open, the coffee was always on, and something good was always cooking.
When Lolly’s husband Tony left this world in 2010, at his funeral Mass the Reverend Joseph Creedon said, “Now it’s time to learn to live our lives without Tony.” Well, now it’s time for all of us to learn how to live our lives without Lolly as she joins Tony once again. We will carry on her traditions of always having an open door, a place for everyone at the table, of keeping in touch — no matter how quick the phone conversation might be, of cooking and baking, and of hosting one and all. We will carry on the tradition of baking her famous Prune Cookies at Christmas time, and her Egg Biscuits (no sprinkles!) at Easter. We need to make a dozen homemade French Meat Pies for our family and friends to ring in each new year ahead, a loaf of French Toast for breakfast (her secret ingredient: a squirt of maple syrup in the batter) and a homemade pizza on the weekends. We will make sure her 100 years, her legacy of faith, family, food and friends, live on. From Lolly to everyone: “Bon appétit...here’s luck! Drink up!”
Relatives and friends were invited to attend her Mass of Christian Burial Friday, March 19, 2021 at Christ the King Church. A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to HopeHealth Hospice & Palliative Care RI, 1085 N Main St., Providence, RI 02904.