Amelia E. (Ricottilli) Derico, 96, of Buckhannon (Mt. Nebo Community) went to be with The Lord on October 19, 2021. She passed away peacefully at her home.
She was born on November 16, 1924, at her childhood home on Water Camp Road in Barbour County, West Virginia, the sixth of fourteen children of the late Panfilo and Giovanna Centofanti Ricottilli. On November 18, 1944, she married Guy Derico, who preceded her in death on May 11, 2016.
Left to cherish her memory are her children: Elaine and husband Geza Katai of Green, Ohio; Joann and husband Brian Huffman of Indian Camp; Mariann and husband David Jack, Mike and wife Mary Derico, and Patty and husband Arthur Sayre of Buckhannon; and Helen Golden of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Also surviving are her daughter-in-law Helen Derico of Jackson’s Mill; twelve grandchildren: Chris Derico, Tim and wife Kim Derico, Melissa Katai Crewes, Steve and wife Noelle Katai, Justin and wife Ana Jack, Brett Huffman, Ryan and wife Erica Huffman, Brianna Huffman, Kristen and husband Matthew Hewitt, Lindsey and husband Cody Skinner, and Michelle and Shannon Golden. Fifteen great-grandchildren survive: Joe, Tom, Savannah and Cameron Derico; Maria and Joshua Crewes; Jenna Steiner; Trent, Guy and Owen Huffman; Madeline, Clara, Evelyn and Fulton Jack; and Oliver Skinner. She is survived by her brother, Carlo Ricottilli of Montrose; her sisters-in-law, Edna Ricottilli of Belington, Sally Ricottilli of Water Camp Road, and Mary Slaughter of Shinnston; extended family member Debbie Coen; and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to her husband and parents, Amelia was preceded in death by her son, Paul Derico; her son-in-law, Patrick Golden; her granddaughter, Katherine Jack; her great-grandchild, Josephine Jack; her sisters, Fiorina Ricottilli, Lucy Palmisano, Adeline Regester, and Virginia Rydzak; and her brothers, Laboria, Albert, Armand, Joseph, Patsy, Dominick, Fiori, and Tony Ricottilli.
Amelia’s elementary education was at Water Camp School, a one-room school located about a mile from her home. She was double-promoted twice and was twelve when she completed eighth grade and sixteen when she graduated from Belington High School. During World War II she was employed in Baltimore as a “Rosie the Riveter.” While in Baltimore she began writing to her future husband Guy, a United States Army soldier stationed in Alaska, whose family was friends with her family. They corresponded for a year and a half before they met at Amelia’s parents’ farm on July 30, 1944. They were engaged on August 3, Guy returned to Alaska, and Amelia returned to Baltimore. They saw each other again on November 7 and were married at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Coalton, West Virginia, a marriage that lasted 71 ½ years until Guy’s passing in 2016. Amelia and Guy lived for a short while at a home in Daysville before purchasing their farm in the Mt. Nebo community in Upshur County, where Amelia resided until her passing. She was such a hard worker, and she made sure that every task was completed correctly and promptly. She especially took pride in her role of making haystacks. Her job was to stand on the stack as it was built and tramp the hay down, assuring that it was symmetrical and looked good in the field. One summer she stacked thirteen.
Amelia worked alongside Guy in the fields. They were known for excellent produce, especially their strawberries, and they worked toward perfection in the vegetables and fruits they grew and sold locally. She canned hundreds of jars of vegetables, fruit, and meat each year, and her cellar was a beautiful sight, with the jars categorized and lined up perfectly, six jars deep, and neatly wrapped onions and garlic hanging from the ceiling. Amelia won first place ribbons for her jams, jellies, and preserves in the Strawberry Festival competitions. She also made delicious cottage cheese, cakes of cheese, butter, and homemade bread, which were a staple for the family but were a treat for company. Family members are still remembering the homemade sausages, biscuits, and strawberry jam she served for breakfast. Among her many talents was her ability to take hand-me-down clothing apart and sew clothing for her children. She also made dresses, sheets, and pillowcases out of feed sacks.
In later years, of course, she sewed numerous outfits from material she bought at G.C. Murphy’s. Besides being an accomplished seamstress, she crocheted hundreds of doilies and numerous afghans over the years. She worked as a clerk at G.C. Murphy’s in Buckhannon for 27 years, and at the age of 72 she would have loved to continue working there, but they closed their doors. She truly enjoyed her time there, especially assisting and meeting the customers. This was a topic of conversation for the rest of her life.
Amelia was very proud of her Italian heritage. Her parents immigrated to the United States, landing on Ellis Island, in the early 1900’s. In 1977 she suggested that the Ricottillis have a family reunion at the home place, and thus began an amazing annual event that she looked forward to each year. The family was so happy that she was able to attend this year’s reunion. Amelia and Guy lived their lives as an example to their seven children. They instilled in them good work ethics, good Christian morals, and integrity. They faithfully attended Holy Rosary Catholic Church, and Amelia had been the oldest living member. Amelia helped prepare meatballs for the famous spaghetti dinners and provided homemade canned goods for the bazaars.
Amelia’s children extend their sincere appreciation to Anita, Brianna, Darlene, Klara, Kristen, Sally, and Trisha for caring for their mother in such a loving way. They also wish to thank WVU Hospice for their kindness and support, especially Adam Suder.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be made in the form of contributions to Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 34 Franklin Street, Buckhannon, WV 26201.
Friends will be received Friday, October 22, 2021, from 5 PM to 8 PM at the Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home. A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday at 11 AM at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church with Father Ed Tetteh officiating. Burial will follow in the Sand Run Baptist Church Cemetery in Excelsior, WV.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.polingstclair.com. Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.