Ann (Gioiele) DeMichiel

October 19, 1915 ~ December 27, 2018 (age 103)
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Ann (Gioiele) DeMichiel, 103, formerly of Torrington, CT, peacefully passed away Thursday, December 27, 2018, with her family by her side at Apple Rehabilitation in Avon, CT.  She was the beloved wife of the late William DeMichiel.

In the midst of World War I, on October 19, 1915, Antoinetta Gioiele was born in Lee, MA, to Nicholas and Rosa (Saccardo) Gioiele, the second of 8 children.  The family traveled to and from Italy to stay connected with parents abroad.  The (Saccardo) family had several farms, and were held in high esteem there.  Consequently, some siblings were US born, and some were born in Italy.  Baby brother, Nicholas, died in a tragic accident at the family home in Summonte – so a second infant son, born in the US was also named for his father, Nicholas.  Patsy, Ann, Albert, Nicholas, American born, all had Italian “accents” to varying degrees, because Italian was their first language!  Mary, Dom, and Louis, Italian born, were raised in the US with English as their mother tongue, did not speak Italian at all – so had no accents!   The other interesting trait was that, while from Southern Italy, their father was fair, and every other child was blonde.

Eventually, all the properties were sold, and the Gioieles left Italy for the last time.  So at 10, Ann and her brothers were placed in school classes with 4 and 5 year olds because they did not speak English.  After testing, they progressed to their proper grades within days.  And while language was a minor issue through adulthood, each one of them became a respected business owner.

Ann always helped with younger siblings.  When the Depression hit, Ann said her life didn’t really change much – on balance, it was fairly stable, with everyone pooling their resources.  Eventually they bought a two-family home in Torrington, with room for family and, briefly, Pat’s barber shop in the front of the house.

Ann met her husband, while performing in a community musical show.  On November 20, 1941, Thanksgiving Day, she wed William DeMichiel.  Bill was completing his Army commitment contract at the end of December, and was looking forward to starting life with his bride.  But fate had different plans.  On the last day of his honeymoon leave, December 7, 1941, while having a celebratory dinner with Ann’s Waterbury relatives, Pearl Harbor was announced on the radio – the US had entered World War II, and Bill had to immediately report to his post.  Nothing would ever be the same until Bill stepped off a train in Torrington on VJ Day, Augusts of 1945.  He had waiting over 4 years and 8 months while fighting in New Guinea – the entire duration of World War II – to see her again.

During WWII, Ann helped her mother care for the whole family, while working at JC Penney in Torrington.  Always stylish, she enjoyed being a “buyer” for the women’s clothing department.  After Bill left, one by one, each of her three brothers “of age” entered the military.  But, there was still her sister, and two young brothers at home.  Every day was stressful, with four men from that home in harm’s way… and extended family with even more men in service.  Eventually, in Anzio, Albert was severely wounded, and returned home missing a large portion of his upper arm.

When Bill returned after the war, Ann took on different duties – cooking and keeping a home for a new husband, but also one which still included several brothers.  Also, Ann had to nurse her mother who had developed debilitating Parkinsons disease.  When her mother’s voice was gone, Ann read her Italian notes to help her through.  In addition, Ann assumed the demands of being a new mother, herself!

Bill worked full time of the State, but, with growing family and financial obligations, the couple started a business, the Saf-Way Driving School.  At home, Ann scheduled appointments, and Bill gave lessons “after work” then did his bookwork before dawn.  Ann eventually became a certified driving instructor.  Both were very active in the field of driver education and safety for 50 years.  Closing ins 1998, it was the oldest commercial driving school in Connecticut.

Ann has always been active in her community.  She was both a Girl Scout and a Cub Scout leader, was involved with PTA, and was a member or officer in various groups including the Third Order of St. Francis, Holy Rosary, Catholic Women’s Club and Torrington Women’s Club.  She also volunteered in many fund-raising campaigns for medical research.

Ann has traveled extensively in the US, Canada, and abroad.  She loved their Florida winters, and an occasional Cape Cod stay when the children were young.  She has toured Italy, and over a dozen countries including England, France, Switzerland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Greece, etc.  She enjoyed New England and Caribbean cruises, and has seen and done amazing things in her 103 years…. Even riding a camel (by herself) in Morocco!

Ann can sum up her secret to longevity in six words – family, faith, friendship, fun, fashion, and food (meaning SWEETS!)

She is survived by one son, William DeMichiel and his wife Patricia of Orange, CT; one daughter, Linda DeMichiel Cavanaugh and her husband James of Farmington, CT; four grandchildren; two great grandchildren, as well as several nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by five brothers, Domenic, Louis, Pasquale, Albert, Nicholas and one sister, Mary Evangelisti.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 4, 2019, with the cortege leaving at 10:30 a.m. from Cook Funeral Home, 82 Litchfield St., Torrington, to St. Peter Church (St. John Paul the Great Parish) 107 East Main St., Torrington, for a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m.   Burial will follow at St. Francis New Cemetery.  Calling hours will be held on Thursday, January 3, 2019, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Cook Funeral Home. 

Condolences may be sent to Ann’s family by visiting

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