Jessica M. Lombardini

Banquet manager of Candle Light Inn in Catonsville had given birth to son March 29

April 11, 2010|By Jacques Kelly

Jessica Moran Lombardini, the banquet manager of Catonsville's Candle Light Inn and the wife of an owner of the inn, died Tuesday of complications from childbirth at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Monkton resident was 27.

Her son, Gianni Franco Lombardini, was born March 29 at Harbor Hospital and is in good heath, family members said.

Born Jessica Moran Acton in Baltimore and raised on South Poppleton Street in Pigtown, she attended Our Lady of Victory School, where she belonged to the honor society and played soccer. She also studied ballet. She earned a scholarship to Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, where she graduated in 1999. She attended North Carolina State University at Raleigh for a year.

In the fall of 2002, after working in child care for Catonsville families, she applied for a job at the Candle Light Inn on Frederick Road. She was bicycling there for an interview when she was struck by a car. Shaken but not badly injured, she tossed the bike in a hedge and kept the appointment for the interview. The driver who hit her drove her to the restaurant.

"I said to myself, 'We are hiring that girl,'" said Christian Lombardini, who owns the restaurant with his brother, Marc, and who later became her husband. "Anyone who went through what she did and still got here on time appealed to me."

She started work at the dining spot, located in a 19th-century home, initially busing tables, and learned the restaurant business.

"She started with us and learned everything. She was a server. She worked in the bar and eventually could work in the office doing the ordering," said her husband. "She was capable of running that restaurant alone."

The business was then owned and operated by the two Lombardini brothers, whose parents had operated the restaurant for many years before their deaths.

"She became a huge asset," said her husband. "We were alone here running the place - my mother had just died - and Jessica worked out beautifully from the start. I didn't have to go behind her and check on things. I could trust her."

He said she became the inn's banquet manager.

"She worked long hours and worked well with brides and the brides' mothers," her husband said.

He said that after years of working together, they were married Aug. 31, 2008. The ceremony and reception were held at the inn.

"As the banquet manager, she would do things as a courtesy for our patrons beyond" what was normally required, her husband said. "She assisted them with the flower arrangements and the other materials associated with their functions."

He said she worked at the inn until about four weeks ago. She and her son returned home after a few days in the hospital. She became ill her first weekend at home and sought medical attention. After returning to Harbor Hospital, she was transferred to the University of Maryland Medical Center, where she died.

The family will receive friends beginning at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Sterling-Ashton-Schwab-Witzke Funeral Home, 1630 Edmondson Ave., in Catonsville.

In addition to her husband and son, survivors include her mother, Tanya Acton of Halethorpe; a brother, Matthew Acton of Halethorpe; and her grandmother, Georgianna Crouse of Glen Burnie.

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