Dorothy Catherine Montagano, previously having spent 83 years in Watertown/Waterbury, CT and for the last 5 years living in Wilmington, NC died very early Monday morning, May 15th, 2023 at the age of 88 years old after an illness. She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Carl, her daughter, Laurajean and son Carlo III and his wife, Natalia. She will be warmly welcomed in Heaven by her 6 sisters and 5 brothers, brothers and sisters in-law, her parents Maria and Rocco Berardo and a lifetime of good friends and coworkers. Most special will be the opportunity to meet for the very first time, her mother-in-law, Josephine.
Her final years found her enjoying her retirement among her entire immediate family in Wilmington who were all finally living in the same town after being scattered across the entire east coast for the past 40 years. Sometimes daily celebrations of sharing time together for any reason we could come up with to meet would happen- a meal, a shopping trip, day trip to a neighboring town or the beach or a visit to each other’s houses. A favorite way to spend time together was to cook out on Dorothy and Carl’s fenced patio or going to Carl or Laura’s house for a meal and a game of cards, dominos or Uno accompanied by loud and happy laughter, desert…and then some coffee. She welcomed all chances to visit whether it was in person or through correspondence and phone calls from family still in New England.
Often called Dot by those closest to her, it was clear from the start, that Carl did not really know what he was in for when he married a woman nicknamed “Fireball” as a young woman. A blind date through a friend led to a honeymoon in Miami and a life filled with regular trips to popular tourist locations such as Virginia Beach, the Catskills, Cape Cod, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Canada along with a trip every year or 2 to spend time with their daughter who was living in Florida. Mom’s passionate nature left a few bits of a lasting written legacy including the composition notebook where she detailed the 2 years of courtship with Carl before marriage and documented carefully the date, what they did and what he brought to her on each date when he walked miles from his neighborhood to hers- sometimes candy, sometimes prosciutto- all carefully written down. Then he’d walk home. Over 6 decades and 3 moves, that notebook still survives. Dorothy was very sentimental, saving greeting cards, locks of hair and kindergarten drawings and report cards, tiny mementos like rocks and sea shells, pressed flowers – all given to her by her children. Her daughter and Dorothy shared a love of art and drew together. Her son made each birthday special by spending the whole day together for whatever she’d like to do.
Dorothy had a complex and deep personality and was a passionate defender of her family and others who she cared for, always mindful of how something said or done might hurt someone’s feelings. She worked several jobs in several banks, but it was immediately clear to all that her family was most important to her. Her vocation as a wife and mother was all that truly mattered to her.
With confidence, she bowled in a league, went horseback trail-riding with family, danced a Zumba class, drove a go-cart, went on secret horticulture missions with her daughter and as recently as February 2023, took an American Sign Language course at the community college in Wilmington.
She danced and socialized like no one else at her son’s wedding in Oak Island in a beautiful maroon outfit in 2021 and left it all on the field when it came to living her life. She will be missed in a way no words can truly describe and Heaven will never be the same. We love you.
Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S.41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403.