Cecelia P. Bucci, Sales Associate

December 05, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Cecelia P. Bucci, a longtime department store sales associate and avid gardener, died of congestive heart failure Friday at Bradford Oaks Rehabilitation Center in Clinton.

She had celebrated her 100th birthday last month.

Cecelia Presutti, daughter of a Pennsylvania Railroad foreman and a homemaker who were immigrants from Sulmona, Italy, was born in Washington, where her parents owned and operated a grocery store.

She later moved with her family to a Prince George's County farm.

Family members said it was unclear where Mrs. Bucci received her education.

In 1931, she married Edward Joseph Bucci, a tile setter, and in 1946, the couple settled in a home on Hagan Road in Temple Hills.

From 1942 until retiring in 1974, Mrs. Bucci was a sales associate at the S. Kahn & Sons department store on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

After her husband's death in 1986, Mrs. Bucci continued living in her Temple Hills home until 2004, when she moved to Branchwood Towers, a senior citizen apartment building in Clinton.

Mrs. Bucci did her own yardwork, including mowing the grass.

"Despite her tiny stature, 4 feet 10, she mowed the lawn with a riding mower well into her 90s, even though she needed a stick to operate the brake because her legs were too short to reach the pedal," said a granddaughter, Ann-Marie Codori, a Baltimore psychologist.

Because she didn't drive, Mrs. Bucci walked everywhere or took streetcars and buses.

Mrs. Bucci was also an avid bird-watcher.

When she was 85, she made a pilgrimage to Sulmona.

Mrs. Bucci, who remained active until within days of her death, had celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends at a party early last month.

"When she had trouble eating near the end of her life, we suggested that she eat ice cream," said Dr. Codori. "She declined, explaining that she didn't 'want to get fat around the middle.' "

Dr. Codori said her grandmother remained active and feisty until the end of her life.

"Just hours before she died, she opened her eyes and asked, 'Who's making the turkey?' " recalled Dr. Codori.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Saturday at the St. Joseph Center, 11704 Duley Station Road, Upper Marlboro.

Also surviving are two sons, Edward J. Bucci of Fort Washington and James J. Bucci of Hollywood, Prince George's County; a daughter, Helen Marie Codori of Upper Marlboro; 11 other grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

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