In Memory


Written by Ro's brother:

Before day’s end it will be one full week since Ro passed away. We had a very nice funeral service on Saturday. Thank you to all who came and shared your love for Ro and care for her family and friends. Thank you to Vanston and James Funeral Services for you great care for Ro and our family. 

For those who may have tried to call or text her phone, we have not been able to unlock it to respond. And for those who were in the dark about her passing, I apologize. There we some of you whom we were not able to contact. 

BobbJenniferLeslieJoshuaAshleyStephenRuthieJason and I are doing ok, trying to sort through our emotions and imagine what life now looks like without the colorful person that was Ro. Please message me or Bobb if you would like to. 

If you would like to know more about Ro, her accomplishments, her talents, you can read my remarks from her funeral below.

Ro’s life began in early winter 1956 just down the street at Moses Taylor Hospital. Her first 6 years of life were lived in a 3rd floor apartment just around the corner on Irving Ave with Mom, Dad and Bobb. She attended Mulenberg Elementary School just up the street. I of course was not around for those years so my information about those times comes only from stories and pictures. Many of you in this group could fill in those gaps with your own stories. I do know that from an early age Ro was a fan of fancy dresses, pretty things and especially high heels. Her artistic ability became evident at an early age when in kindergarten the art class was asked to draw a train and Ro not only drew it but drew it in perspective. 

My birth necessitated a larger living space and our family moved to Clarks Summit where Ro’s talents in the arts grew. Piano was her instrument, but she also had a beautiful soprano voice earning her spots in district and regional chorus festivals in high school. Her visual arts talent grew also during that time. She was voted most talented girl in her senior high school class, and was the recipient of the National Choral Award. She chose to pursue a career in the visual arts. 

After a year at IUP, she made her way eventually to the York Academy of Arts where she completed a program in graphic designs, garnishing awards particularly for her use of color. She remained in the York area for some time before eventually making her way back to Scranton. She spent time as a designer for Harper Sound Productions, ran some private studio design classes, was Art Director for WYOU TV and the Wyoming Valley Health System, did contract work with marketing firms, and freelance design work. You don’t have to look far or hard in NEPA to see evidence of her work on numerous signs, ads, logos, etc. She did a generous amount of pro bono work for various charitable organizations. Always a fan of things shiny, a party was not complete without confetti. I’m sure she singlehandedly kept that industry going for the past 30 years. Awards came from her efforts, both locally and regionally. Whether it was T-shirt design, brochure development, Christmas card creation, or TV production, her trademark look was functional but also with a characteristic richness to it.

One always knew when Ro was around. Though short in stature, she made her present known. If you didn’t hear her voice, the jingle of countless silver bracelets announced her arrival, overshadowed only by the clicking of her high heels. At least until recent years when aching joints drove her to flat shoes and occasionally a cane. 

Suffering is the tuition one pays for a character degree. 

Suffering is also the lecturer in the course of life, a professor who attempts to teach us to consider what is important, what we’re made of, and made for. The later years of Ro’s life were unfortunately filled with a lot of suffering. Autoimmune disease and a host of other problems pummeled her body. Of course in true Calderone fashion the blood pressure was a problem. Through it all she found the time and energy to care for our mom as she herself became increasingly infirm. Making multiple trips each week to Wesley Village to visit and care for my mom became her part time, some times full-time job. Accompanying her to appointments, advocating for her in the nursing home, sitting by her side in the ED on multiple occasions, comforting Mom through bouts of fear and loneliness, it was a ton of work for her. There was an element of therapy in it for her also, so when Mom passed away 14 months ago it left a significant hole in Ro’s life which she found difficult to fill in the ensuing months. The resulting loneliness combined with the multiple medical problems, physical pain and suffering seemed unbearable at times. 

If suffering is the lecturer in the class of life, death is the radical with a bullhorn in the street calling out for us to be shaken from our dullness, our relational apathy, our procrastination, our pettiness, and our assumption that things will continue as they always have. 

When my mom died I noted that the world would be a little less bright from then on. With the loss of Ro, let’s say the world will be a little less colorful.


Click here to see Ro.'s last Profile entry.