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Pallaria hits 100

Dominic Palaria with his mother Theresa celebrating her 100th birthday at his Lancaster home. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
July 27, 2011
LANCASTER— A long way from her birthplace in West Philadelphia, Theresa Pallaria celebrated her 100th birthday at her home in Lancaster on Saturday.

Raised in West Phillie, as she still calls it, Mrs. Palleria began the migration north upon meeting her future husband, Joseph, when she was 16 years old and he visited his cousins who were also her neighbors whom she "chummed around with."

They took a walk together and he left for home in Massachusetts shortly after.

Several years later he began writing, then visiting.

"The last letter was a proposal of marriage," she said and added with a chuckle, "and I married him." That marriage, begun in 1930, lasted 65 years.

Shortly after marriage the young couple moved to his family's home in Bradford, Mass. where they settled and raised their children.

After her husband's death Mrs. Pallaria continued to reside in Bradford where she had numerous friends, including her best friend Connie Duffy who made the trip to North Country for the party accompanied by her daughter Joann.

Mrs. Pallaria moved to Lancaster in 2005 to live with her son Dominic and his wife Donna, at whose home the birthday bash was thrown.

Granddaughter-in law Kim Duffney praised the matriarch calling Mrs. Pallaria strong, calm and grounded with a great sense of humor. Duffney said her husband William calls his grandmother every week and they share stories and recipes adding that William asks about her past to learn about her life, calling it "part of their loving exchange."

Mrs. Pallaria's nephew Rocco, who lived upstairs from her in Bradford, said he enjoyed stories from her past, too, especially that when, as a teen, she worked wrapping cakes for "Tasty Cakes" there was a player piano to keep the workers entertained.

Mrs. Pallaria has one great grandchild, Joseph Duffney, named for her late husband.

Mrs. Pallaria was 100 on July 22, young Joseph turned 10 on July 23. Missed it by a day.

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