On the 13th of January heaven gained another angel. Phyllis (Polito) Mastalong, our loving mother and Nonnie, rejoined her late husband, Chester. She was 81 years old. The story of our mother’s life begins in South Troy on November 17, 1941. Phyllis was the third daughter of Anthony and Madeleine (Ciarlone) Polito. Our mom’s youth was filled with stories of her elder sisters: Doris (Richard Deegan, Bethesda MD) Mary Lou (the late Frank Sommo, Troy, NY) and younger brother Joseph, Troy, NY(deceased). They were the first generation Italian-American to be born in the US and had a close-knit extended family to add even more color to their stories. Phyllis attended Catholic High School and Mildred Elley Secretarial School for her education. In her early 20s, Phyllis began working at the Watervielt Arsenal. She peppered in weekend trips to the lakes with girlfriends. On one of those fateful nights out Phyllis met Chet. A whirlwind of events ensued, and the two were married in 1974. By 1978, Phyllis was the devoted mother to three; Heather, Brian (Brianne VanderWoude) and Kelly. Our mother devoted all of her time and energy to her children through the 80’s and 90’s. Phyllis taught us the importance of family and resilience. Family vacations on the beach with cousins were amazing. Station wagon journeys rolling around in the “way back.” Phyllis was a “Soccer Mom” before it was even a thing. She and Sue Bayly drove soccer caravans, full of rambunctious teens, across upstate NY and never complained. Phyllis never wanted to hold her children back so she encouraged us as wholeheartedly as a mother could. She was open minded for a woman of her generation and supported her children when she may not have agreed with us. Phyllis was opinionated for sure. If and when we made mistakes, her comments came with a Sicilian tongue lashing of “I told you so.” Phyllis’ love for life and family was infinitely increased with the birth of her first grandchild, Harper in 2005. Phyllis’s life took on an entirely new meaning after 2005. Phyllis’ love for life and family was infinitely increased with the birth of her first grandchild, Harper in 2005. She was Nonnie now! The tremendous joy of grandchildren was magnified 5 more times. Tyler, Chet, Amelia, Elise and Jack rounded up Nonnie's brood. Nonnie has taught the children so much through the years. Some of the most special memories will be holiday dinners at Nonnie’s house. Nonnie cooked every person’s favorite side dish at Thanksgiving. For anyone that has ever had our mother’s food, you know, not only is it delicious, it is always made with love. Phyllis’s food brought joy. She gave meatballs and sauce as gifts, (eggplant parmigiana if she knew it was your favorite), and during college, she sent us back with so much garbage bread we had enough to feed our friends. Phyllis was the ultimate provider. Before Phyllis was a mother, she was an aunt. She leaves behind nieces, nephews and even more grand nieces and nephews. Aunt Phyllis loved being a part of her extended family’s celebrations. Dick & Doris’s Anniversary, Easter at Cathy’s or 4th of July at Scott’s, Aunt Phyllis was there! The lives of Phyllis’s extended family brought her great happiness. Phyllis made lifelong friendships which were rejuvenated once she retired. Phyllis retired from BENET Laboratories at the Watervliet Arsenal after 45 years of service. Phyllis had luncheons with her BENET friends as recently as last month. She was a member of the Wynantskill and Sycaway Senior groups, maintaining her friendships from Catholic High School. Our mom had a pretty busy social calendar filled with great people; Phyllis had a wonderful life. Even in her death, Phyllis brings her family and friends together. Please join us on Friday January 20th, for a visitation at the Wm. Leahy Funeral home, 336 3rd St Troy from 4 – 7 pm.
A funeral mass will be held on Saturday at 10:30 am in Our Lady of Victory Church, Troy. Interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery. Thank you to everyone who is able to celebrate Phyllis’s life with us. Please join our family at a reception at Moscatiello's at noon Saturday after the burial.
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