This page has been visited 6742 times

Concetta Compesi


Concetta “Connie” Compesi, age 91, of Wayne, passed peacefully on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.

She was born and raised at number 38 West Street in East Paterson which is now known as Elmwood Park. She was the eighth of nine children born to Frank and Josephine DeBonis who had emigrated from Naples, Italy to the United States, because it was "the land of opportunity".  Like many Italian families of the time, they had a vegetable garden with enormous tomatoes and a fig tree in the back yard. They also had their own grape vines for making wine. Life was filled with family gatherings in their home. Surrounded by brothers, sisters, in-laws, and lots of kids, they always shared a meal. Afterwards it was card games for the grownups, music and dancing for the teens, and just playing outside long after dark for the kids!

As a young girl, she played outside with her girlfriends. Without today's technology, they had to be creative to fill their days. They called themselves "The Gashouse Gang" because they were always up to a little mischief, for a laugh. East Paterson did not have a high school, so she attended Lodi High School. Since they were growing up during the Great Depression (1929-1939) and World War II (1939-1945), times were tough. All of the children in the family had to leave high school at age 16 and go to work to help support the family. The boys went to war.

After the war, life got a little easier. The boys were back home from the war and enjoyed meeting girls at clubs and bars. One Friday, while Connie stopped for a drink with her cousin, she noticed that a cute young man kept looking her way. She returned his glance with a friendly smile and soon he was over to talk. His first words were “Do I know you from somewhere…you look familiar” to which Connie replied “I think you do know me.” Love would take it from there and on September 19, 1948 Connie DeBonis and Russell Compesi were married at Saint Leo's Church in East Paterson. They honeymooned at Lake George, New York.

Connie’s was anxious to establish her own home and become a mom. She soon had a family started and would be blessed with three children. Connie devoted herself to her family and there was nothing she wouldn’t do for them. When her son got up at 4 AM to go fishing he would find Mom awake and making him a hot breakfast. She made the difficult task of being a mother and homemaker look effortless. She did everything fast. She was like a tornado in the kitchen whipping together meals and snacks in no time. She was known for her lasagna, everyone's favorite! Her Christmas struffoli & filled cookies, Easter pizzagaina, and spectacular apple pie will be greatly missed. Connie truly loved family dinners and holiday gatherings and she made everyone feel special and treasured!

At home Connie was a get-it-done person. Russ would come home from work and find she had painted the garage, redecorated a room, cut the grass, or weeded the beds surrounding the house. Connie devoted herself to family. She helped out wherever she was needed. Life would have her caring for her parents, and in-laws as they aged through the autumn years of their lives.

For entertainment, Connie didn't ask for much. She saw her fair share of Broadway shows in NYC, but truthfully preferred a poker game at home instead. It didn't matter if the stakes were just nickels & dimes, she took the game seriously and was quite the card shark. Connie and Russ also enjoyed vacations in Las Vegas where they saw some great shows and topped off the night with some time at the Blackjack tables. They were happy when Atlantic City opened to gambling and they could make day trips to the casinos. Connie also enjoyed vacations at the Jersey Shore. She loved getting up early, packing snacks for the car, and heading to the beach. After her grandchildren were born, she delighted in watching them play in the sand and splash in the water.

She was the life of the party, friendly, talkative, and outgoing. She enjoyed music and dancing. She ran her life through her gigantic heart. She was kind and complimentary to everyone around her. She knew just what to say, in a genuine way, to make people feel appreciated and special.

Concetta was the loving wife of fifty-nine years to the late Russell Stephen Compesi (2007); devoted mother of Eileen Lehault and her husband William Blair of Wayne, Gary Compesi and his wife JoAnn of Wayne, and Alan Compesi of Wayne; cherished grandmother of Michael Lehault and his wife Allison of San Pedro, CA, Christopher Lehault and his wife Lindsay of Cranford, Jenna Furfaro and her husband James of Wayne, William Lehault and his wife Kathleen of Warwick, NY, and Philip Compesi of North Hollywood, CA; much loved great-grandmother of Franco Furfaro, Alexandra Lehault, Sebastian Lehault, Donovan Lehault, and Miles Lehault. She was also the dearly loved sister of Ralph DeBonis and his wife Jean of Fair Lawn, and her late siblings: Alfonse, Albert, Fred, Tony DeBonis, Lena Mazzaza, Josephine Natoli, and Anna Dolfi.

Friends may visit with the family from 3-7 PM on Monday, March 6, 2017 at the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home, 567 Ratzer Road, Wayne.

Funeral services will be held 9:30 AM on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 from the funeral home then to Immaculate Heart of Mary RC Church, 580 Ratzer Road, Wayne where a 10:30 AM Funeral Mass will be offered.

Interment will follow at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Totowa.

In lieu of flowers memorial donations to the Wayne Memorial First Aid Squad, (click on the blue text to make an online donation) PO Box 2004, Wayne, NJ 07474 would be greatly appreciated.  

Guest Book


Dear Gary and family, The Mancini family is so sorry for the loss of your mom.

Phyllis MANCINI Pernia


So sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Craig McPhee


Dear Gary and JoAnn, please accept our heartfelt condolences. Although we never met Concetta we feel blessed because we know you and JoAnn an extension of her. May God continue to Bless you and your family.

Eli and Yolanda


Eileen and family- I was truely saddened to hear of your Mom's passing I hope that in time your grief lessens and your hearts are full with the joy she brought to your lives. God saw you were getting tired, and a cure was not to be, so he put his arms around you and whispered, "come to me". With tearful eyes we watched you, and saw you pass away. Although we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest. God broke our hearts to prove to us, he only takes the best.With deepest condolences- Carol & Ed

carol angiono jones


Dearest Eileen, I am deeply saddened by the passing of your mother. I remember when I was your ninth grade teacher at Anthony Wayne and you ask me to invite me to your pool. (certainly would not happen with teachers and students today right? She was so full of fun and most gracious and made sure I was enjoying myself. Moms are very very special and it is a difficult time for you and your brothers and her grandchildren. Try and remember all those happy memories of that wonderful lady you called mom. May God bless you and the family and may your mother be resting in peace in God's heavenly kingdom. Sincere Condolences, Joann Ranalletti

Joann Falco Ranalletti


Eileen, Gary and Alan, I read about the recent passing of your Mom. I got to know her many years ago as the neighbor across the street. She and your Dad were good friends to me and my girls. So very sorry for your loss. With deepest sympathy, Janet Maloy

Janet Maloy

Would you like to leave your thoughts and sign the guest book?

Your Name 

Your Email 
Your Message 

Would you like to send the family a PRIVATE note of Condolence? What's this?