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Mary Louise Cararbe, 90, Of Norwalk

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NORWALK, Conn. – Mary Louise Cararbe, 90, died Saturday, May 2.

She was born in Norwalk June 26, 1924, the daughter of Custode (Chris) and Jenny Bottone, early 20th century immigrants from southern Italy. With her brother Larry Bottone, who died last year at age 89, she grew up on Strawberry Hill Avenue, at the time a close-knit Italian-American section of Norwalk.

In 1946, she was wed to Frank Cararbe from Bridgeport, a World War II veteran who served nobly in the Pacific theater. Throughout most of the 1950s, she and her husband were owners of a restaurant and then a laundry in Westport. She worked first for the Character Toy company and then for Trudy Toys in Norwalk, both manufacturers of high-quality stuffed animals and toys, for more than 35 years.

After retiring, she worked several years as a family nanny. She was committed to the care of her mother and father. She was an early widow, when Frank passed away at the age of 59 in 1977.

While always a devoted member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in East Norwalk, in widowhood she found herself increasingly engaged in church activities, including many initiatives to help others less fortunate than herself. She became a Eucharistic minister at age 60. For many years, she was responsible for the weekly cleaning and ironing of the communion napkins, and for several years she also volunteered her time to assist unwed mothers who were sheltered at the St. Thomas community center. Having raised two children, in 1982 she was blessed with her first grandchild, and enjoyed five more throughout the years, as well as one great-grandchild.

After living alone in her home for many years, in 2002 she entered The Marvin Senior Care home in East Norwalk. With many friends and many responsibilities, she flourished there for the remainder of her golden years. She participated in many community service projects, including the making of blankets for our troops.

She is survived by her daughter, Linda Miller of Jacksonville, Florida; son, Peter Carabi and daughter-in-law Helena Carabi; two granddaughters; four grandsons; son-in-law Dr. Nicholas Agresti; and one great-grandson.

Friends may call from 4-7 p.m. Sunday at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Ave., Norwalk. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 203 East Ave., Norwalk. Burial will follow in St. John Cemetery, 223 Richards Ave., Norwalk.

Donations in her memory may be made to The Marvin, 60 Gregory Boulevard, Norwalk, CT 06855, or to the Masonicare Hospice, 535 Connecticut Ave., Suite 101, Norwalk, CT 06854.

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