Antonia vda. Mateo

Obituary of Antonia Altagracia Diaz vda. Mateo

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Antonia Altagracia DÍaz vda. Mateo
Pine Bush, NY

Antonia Altagracia DÍaz vda. Mateo (known as Altagracia, Grace, or Mama Grace) passed away peacefully at 95 ¾ years young on March 28, 2024 in Orange County, NY.

She was born in Palmar (a suburb of Santiago), Dominican Republic on June 13, 1928 to Jesús MarÍa DÍaz and Camelia Gonzalez.  She was born 10 of 11 siblings and half-siblings, all of whom have predeceased her.

Her father died on August 20, 1930 and in 1938, her mother left her children with close family relatives and migrated to NY, hoping to support her family financially and eventually send for “her girls.”

Altagracia recalled an idyllic childhood-summers in the country surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles, her beloved grandmother, and older brothers and sisters.  They had many adventures and the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” was certainly embodied there.

In November 1943, Camelia was finally able to send for “her girls.”  Following their first plane ride, they landed in Miami on Thanksgiving and traveled by train to NYC the next day.

Altagracia attended Washington Irving High School for grade 10 and most of grade 11, where she learned some English and excelled in her studies.  Due to economic circumstances, she left school to work full-time at ID Watch Company.  An older employee taught her knitting-a craft at which she was extremely talented and enjoyed until the day before her death.

She met her husband, Ricardo, at a Dominican community fundraiser-the first time she was allowed to wear make-up (lipstick!!) and heels (with white ankle socks!).  Ricardo was smitten and totally unaware of the age difference (her 17 to his 37).

Camelia was unsure they should date but after chaperoning their meetings and outings and being impressed by Ricardo’s gentleness, good manners, respectfulness, and obvious adoration of her daughter, consented to their relationship.

Ricardo and Altagracia were engaged in January 1946 and married on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1947.

Altagracia “kept the accounts” at Global Forwarding Company, the company established by her husband, and worked until giving birth to the first of their children in 1948.

As Ricardo’s health worsened and their expenses increased, Ricardo and Altagracia made the decision for Altagracia to rejoin the workforce-she secured a job at Bulova Watch Company, advancing from line worker to a supervisory position in the Crystal Division where she received special training and government security clearance in the manufacture of crystals used by NASA’s space program.

Altagracia was laid off after close to 30 years when the Bulova company was sold to Loew’s Corporation.  NYS Unemployment sent her to ABC-a business career institute where she completed a data entry and computers course with honors.  Her last employer was Best & Company-a family owned jewelry concern where she used her knowledge of crystals and learned about precious and semi-precious stones.

After retirement in her 60s, Altagracia concentrated on enjoying all of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren, as well as her family and friends.  She is survived by her children Frank (Iris) Ferriolo, Altagracia (Robert) Taudel, Richard (Linda) Ardinger-Mateo, Manuel Eduardo (Lisa Baldasar) Mateo, 8 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, 3 great great grandchildren, and and extensive list of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends, who will all miss her dearly.


Altagracia (deceased): “Besides loving each other so much, we really cherished being together and sharing and loving.”

Altagracia and Robert: “My late TÍa Zoraida and TÍo Raoul said, ‘Your mom’s graciousness and fantastic cooking and your parents’ generosity and open hearts made it easy for family and friends to travel straight from the airport to their home or ours-no questions asked.’  My parents were very welcoming and loving, which is how I came to have a new big brother.

My mother worked with Frank Ferriolo at Bulova.  His father had died a few years previously and my parents watched out for him and became friendly with his mother.  When Frank’s mom was hospitalized with cancer, my parents visited her regularly; she requested they ‘please look after my son.’  My father replied with my mother’s consent that Frank ‘is our son from now on and we will love and care for him as our own,’ which they had done ever since.  We fondly recall how she would tease Rob whenever they were confused for brother and sister, instead of mother and son, because they had the same hair.  She teased us just as much as we teased her.  We will always remember Mami’s kindness and generosity, her playfulness and sense of humor, how she cared for and loved those around her, and how she welcomed us all.”

Manuel Eduardo and Lisa: “Though there were five in the family, come dinnertime, there were always six place settings at the table.  Aside from cooking delicious dishes (some taught to her by her brother-in-law, TÍo Lingo), I still didn’t know about eating arrangements until I finally asked.  My mother stated, ‘Well, you never know who may show up, and you never turn anyone away, that’s why.’  This is Mami in a nutshell; always  willing to invite anyone into her home, hearth, and heart-and making sure that the person would leave sated.  Mami’s love and generosity were deep and boundless.  Best mother and mother-in-law ever.

We are so fortunate and grateful to be part of the family she and Papi Ricardo created.  The strength of this family is the legacy of that love.”

Ricardo and Linda: “Mami was gracious with her resources and her time beyond reason.  Whenever someone would mention us taking care of Mom, we had to smile and say she was really taking care of us.  Mom loved cooking as an expression of her love; and if the delicious food was any indication, she loved greatly.  

Over the years, she took care of just about everyone, often when they were a baby, then helping the same with their babies, and caring for her sister in her last years.  She helped my wife and I when we had operations.  And she did it with grace, never complaining.  She simply loved helping people; it made her happy.  Her family was her life, and it was as extensive as her love.”

Celebration of Life Mass will be held  on June 7, 2024  at 11:30 am
at Sacred Heart RC Church, 215-35 38th Avenue, Bayside, NY 11361. Graveside Service immediately following at Mount St. Mary Cemetery, 172-00 Booth Memorial Avenue Flushing, NY 11365, Section 22 Row F Grave # 215

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to a children’s charity of your choice in her honor.


Celebration of Life Mass

11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Friday, June 7, 2024
Sacred Heart RC Church
215-35 38th Ave
Bayside, New York, United States

Interment of Ashes

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm
Friday, June 7, 2024
Mount St. Mary Cemetery
172-00 Booth Memorial Ave
Flushing, New York, United States
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Antonia vda. Mateo

In Loving Memory

Antonia vda. Mateo

1928 - 2024

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