Jennie Violia Rawski passed away on July 22, 2020 at age 95.
Jennie was born and grew up in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. She was the second child of Agatino and Josephine DiStefano, born on September 16, 1924. She had two brothers, Phillip and Michael, and a sister Lena.
In the 1940’s and 1950’s she worked as a teletype operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Pittsburgh, where she met her future husband, another railroad employee, Anthony Francis Rawski. They married in 1948 and had three children: Anthony, John and Jennie. She is survived by her three children and two grandchildren.
She was a business woman in a time when few existed. For 15 years, she owned and operated a health food store in the Pittsburgh area. A few years after her husband’s death in 1986, she and her six cats that she adopted as strays, moved to Boxborough, where she lived with her daughter. She loved cats and would always sneak treats to her daughter’s cats, when she thought her daughter wasn’t looking.
With a life that spanned almost a century and possessing a vivid memory, she was a time machine. Her detailed stories of her immigrant family and its experiences during prohibition, the depression and WW II were many, colorful and inspiring.
But she always looked into the future. In the early 1990’s, when a younger relative showed her his personal computer she knew that she wanted one for herself, even though she was asked, “what would you do with a computer?” For the longest time, she enjoyed surfing the internet, playing computer games and sending e-mails, which she said “was just like a teletype machine.”
In her later years, she enjoyed traveling with her family and cousins. The places she visited included Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Russia. In Sicily, she was able to visit the village where her parents lived before they came to America.
She enjoyed reading, sewing, board games, puzzles and searching for interesting treasures at consignment stores and the Boxborough transfer station. She also enjoyed the senior citizen activities that were available in Boxborough: a book club and mahjong – especially mahjong.
She will be loved, missed and always remain an inspiration to all of us.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of the Boxborough Library, Sargent Memorial Library, 427 Massachusetts Ave., Boxborough, MA 01719.
Memorial page actonfuneralhome.com