Lillian (Szyszkowski) Bartolotta age79, passed away March 5, 2011
Born May 24, 1931 Lillian was one of 13 children to Natalie (Terasinska) and Albion Szyszkowski. She grew up on Smith Street near the foot of Exchange in a section of old Buffalo, called The Valley because it was surrounded by viaducts, overpasses and rail-lines. Known by her nick-name, Blondie, she graduated from the original Buffalo Girls' Vocational School. At the age of 18 she met, and married, Joseph S. Bartolotta at St. Peter and Paul RC church. The service was conducted in Polish, and Lillian nudged Joseph as the appropriate time for him to say "I do." As the new Mrs. Bartolotta, Lillian moved from the Polish Valley to the Italian West Side. Today, this 6 mile distance is nothing, in 1950, with neighborhoods populated by immigrants, it was Cultural Shock. Blondie was forced to assimilate to the new language, sounds, foods and activities. One activity that dominated Joseph's life, was hunting. So much so, that the couple married the day after Christmas because Joseph's only vacation days from Labors Local 210 were Thanksgiving and Christmas; and Thanksgiving was for Deer Season. Blondie assimilated to that to, she turned out to be a natural shot bringing down her share of the buck. Lillian and Joseph saved enough to buy a lot in the Warsaw Hills. There they cut down the trees with a two man saw, and built a log cabin as a summer home. A home without running water or electricity, it was a favorite place as they raised their three children to appreciate the outdoors. The family enjoyed the adventure of camping and traveled whenever possible. In 1967 the family camped while attending the World's Fair in Montreal Canada. Camping extensively throughout the Northeast the family visited the Finger Lakes, Lake Placid, Washington DC and anywhere with a park. Camping in the 60's and 70's was not like today, and Lillian orchestrated these events like a pro. The family piled into the station wagon pulling a trailer loaded with cooking stoves, gas lamps, sleeping bags, first-aid kits, boots, fishing gear, etc. Lillian had to plan meals with enough food for three to four days to last without refrigeration. There were two tents, one for Lil and Joe, and one for the kids with the pets. There were no pet-sitters or private boarding kennels then, and the hunting dog and cat were always along for the ride, never once getting lost. When the youngest of their children was in high School, Lil and Joe's adventures took them to Italy. Renting a car with friends, they drove from Sicily to Rome spending 3 weeks in the countryside. Eventually, Lillian retired from the NY State unemployment office, to Tamarac, Florida. Retired, being a suggestion, the couple started working the flea markets. Up and out of the house by 4 am on the weekends to get a good spot. Two days a week they sold items, and during the week they hunted garage sales to stock up. Even after Joe's death in 1998, Lillian continued for years to be a regular vendor at the Ft. Lauderdale $wap-Shop, carrying everything, but specializing in American. If you were looking for an antique wooden rolling pin, Lillian had them in several sizes. Lillian lived alone until moving into the Lenox Memory care unit in 2009. She died after several weeks in Hospice, and a long and adventurous life. Lillian is survived by Her Son Guy (Linda) Bartolotta, Daughters Lisa (Steve) Danko and Kim (Keene) Maines, Her four grandchildren Aaron (Angie), Anna (Matt), Alex and Nick, Great Grandson Nathan and sisters Irene Czekaj, Sophie Kuwik-Kelm and Paticia Vara, brothers Kibby and Herky (Alice) Szyszkowski, and many nieces and nephews.
Arrangements under the direction of Kraeer/Mason Funeral Home and Cremation Center, Tamarac, FL.