Friday, January 22, 2021
Nassau Knolls Cemetery
Port Washington Blvd
Port Washington, New York, United States
Obituary of Sibyl Louise Grillo
Sibyl Louise Fitzgerald Grillo was born during a blizzard in the small town of Granby, Missouri on January 27, 1924, the youngest of 13 children. Her older sister, Grace, who was 16, served as midwife because the doctor wasn’t able to get to their farm in time. Since she did so well, Grace was given the honor of naming her new little sister. She chose the name Sibyl because she wanted to give her a sophisticated, feminine, and delicate name, which Sibyl most certainly grew into. Sibyl met the love of her life, Rosario (Bob) Grillo, at an amusement park in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1942 where his platoon was participating in the Fourth of July festivities. They were married shortly thereafter by a Justice of the Peace in Chester, NY, where one of Bob’s Army buddies, Angelo, lived. They were treated to dinner at his friend’s family’s home—complete with a “wedding cake” emblazoned with the words “Welcome Home, Angelo”. Sibyl and Bob moved around the country from Army base to Army base in the company of amazing lifelong friends who also happened to teach Sibyl how to cook. This foundation in Italian cooking stood her (and her well-nourished family) in good stead throughout her life. When World War II ended, Sibyl and Bob moved back to New York to live with Bob’s parents and 18 months later, moved to their own apartment in Brooklyn. After several years, they moved to Stuyvesant Town in Manhattan where Sibyl got a job as a teletype operator and started saving every cent to buy a house on Long Island. In January, 1957, that dream became a reality. Soon after they adopted two daughters, LeAnne and Elizabeth, to whom Sibyl was an attentive, loving, and devoted mother. Sibyl volunteered for the Women’s Club of the Willistons, ultimately serving as its president, but the Community Church of East Williston was where she gave most of her time and energy. She served on the Board of Elders and on several pastoral search committees. Sibyl was Financial Secretary for over 30 years, going to the church at a minimum of twice a week (in addition to Sunday), diligently recording the weekly offerings and keeping the accounts straight. She also acted in many of the church’s drama productions and she and Bob were active in the Couples’ Club. Sibyl moved from her home on “The Ridge” in 2011 to the Amsterdam in Port Washington. It was hard to leave the home where she raised her family. She would miss her dear neighbors, but she found some new and old friends at the Amsterdam and it soon became home to her. As she got older and needed some extra support, she was helped by her two dedicated caregivers, Denise and Saddy, whom she loved dearly. Sibyl was strong and resilient, playful, and kind til the moment she died. As a child of the Depression, she was appreciative of everything in life—from the simplest act of kindness to the chance to say good night to her wonderful friend next door by flicking the lights on and off each evening. Little things gave her much joy. Sibyl was a caring neighbor, a beloved aunt, sister-in-law, sister, and cherished friend, but her role as mother was the one she most treasured. She leaves her two daughters, LeAnne Grillo (husband Howard Marshall) and Elizabeth Jean Grillo, nieces and nephews, her brother-in-law, Morton Schlanger, and many dear, dear friends she considered family. She passed away peacefully at home in Maine on January 15, 2021 and was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, in 2007. A small, graveside service will be held on Friday, January 22 at Nassau Knolls Cemetery where she will be laid to rest with her husband. A memorial service will be held later this fall, when we will be able to be together safely. In lieu of flowers, contributions in celebration of Sibyl’s life may be made to the Community Church of East Williston, 45 East Williston Avenue, East Williston, NY 11596.
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