Agnes Mancuso

Obituary of Agnes M. Mancuso

Our wonderful mom, Agnes Marie Mancuso (née Cardinale) of Monterey, CA, passed away peacefully at home on May 29, 2023.  She was 93 years young.

Agnes was a first generation American, her parents coming from French Algeria originally, to earn a living in the early fishing industry of Monterey. Her father, Orazio B. Cardinale owned his own successful fishing boat, and her mother, Marie Michele Cardinale (née Mercurio) was a wonderful mom who was so proud to earn her American citizenship.

Agnes was the youngest of five children by five years, all passed now, and was outright spoiled as she would tell her children. Her brother Joe Cardinale would take her along as a five-year-old girl on his dates with his girlfriend. The girlfriend became his wife so you could say it was a great relationship tester.

She attended Monterey High School (GO TOREADORES!) and had the time of her life as she told her family many times, making lifelong friends and enjoying her teen years in Monterey in the 40’s.

She married Joseph Anthony Mancuso, also of Monterey, in 1952 (passed away in 2012). He told his friends that when he first saw her, he said, “there’s the girl I’m going to marry,” and they were married, for 59 years, with two children.

She worked for the Monterey school district at Walter Colton Jr. High School and then Monterey High School (GO TOREADORES!), somehow timing her employment with her children’s time at said schools.  This did come in handy when they needed money at breaktime for cookies or ice cream. Not so good when they were tardy to class.

Agnes loved to celebrate and decorate for every holiday and birthday. Her kids would fall asleep to the sound of the mixer making their favorite cake and wake up to streamers leading from their bedrooms to the breakfast table where decorations and a birthday present before school waited for them. Each holiday was reflected in the table decorations, fireplace mantel, and even towels in the bathroom.  Christmas tables always had a theme, games were created, and prizes awarded.  Friends were not left out as even a card seemed like a present by the time Agnes was done decorating with stickers (everywhere!) and tape sealing the envelope, so well you might never get to the card inside. Her daughter carries on this tradition of decorating faithfully for Agnes’ grandchildren. 

When she met anyone, whether it was the salesperson, dental assistant, doctor, stranger on a plane, or the tram at Disney World, Agnes wanted them to feel comfortable. She would always say hello and ask how they were, make small talk that led to detailed descriptions of her children’s lives, many times with said child sitting next to her, turning red depending on the story, but also knowing this was her way and so they just went with it knowing she was proud of them.

Sooner or later (you know who you are) at Christmas time, whether a friend, neighbor, doctor, attorney, bank teller (thank you BofA for taking such great care of her and our dad over the years) would receive Italian cookies with sesame seeds. These were considered like gold by some and fought over and hidden by many if the stories are true. She made them with love and tried to be fair in giving them out. So glad they were enjoyed.

Agnes’ pride and joy were her grandchildren and great grandchild. Agnes was great at playing games with the kids (Bingo being her favorite – she won a lot of pennies over the years). Her grandchildren loved receiving a “Grandma box” in the mail. They are still not sure how she fit so many brightly wrapped gifts into them, but these boxes were always treasured once the kids got past the stickers and tape. 

In her later years, she still loved going to the craft and party stores, and having Starbucks with her shopping partner in crime, her daughter, telling stories about her family and growing up in Monterey, just as she did all throughout her children’s lives. Agnes’ children did not know their grandparents as they passed away early, but Agnes brought them to life for her children.

Agnes is survived by her son, Joseph P. Mancuso of Monterey, who took wonderful care of her after her husband passed, making sure to keep her mind sharp by quizzing her about episodes of Golden Girls, Leave It To Beaver and about family members, similar to a senior citizen/home version of Jeopardy.  Joseph’s son, Matthew Mancuso, lives in Michigan with his wife and young daughter.

Her daughter, Michele M. Mancuso, lives in Luxembourg with her husband and three children.  The highlight of any trip home to the U.S. to see Grandma were the hugs, love and stories.  Michele, besides being her shopping partner, was also her travel partner, helping her mom “see the world,” at least Disney World, and New York where Agnes made friends of course ladies from Boston that she still exchanged Christmas cards with, and two of N.Y.’s finest with whom she shared childhood stories about her daughter naturally, while looking for a good cup of coffee (they said to let them know when she found one).

She will be loved and missed by her nephew, Horace Cardinale of Sacramento, CA, his wife Marie Jo, their children and grandchildren; her niece Ann Cardinale (Sister Emmanuel) of San Rafael, CA; her nephew Michael Agliano and his wife, children and grandchildren; her godson Michael Calabrese of Monterey; nephews Father Peter Crivello, Joseph Crivello and niece Providence Crivello of Monterey; her lifelong friends Pansy Belleci of Monterey, Tamara and Jim Chips of Puyallup, WA, their children and grandchildren, Russell & Laurie Friberg of Redmond, WA, their children and grandchildren, her cousin Anne Marie Mabilais of Darvault, FR,  and so many more family and friends whose lives she touched and shared Italian cookies with over the years.

Agnes is now with her husband, family and all her good friends who passed before her, having a wonderful time and laughing a lot.  She will be greatly missed and always remembered for more reasons than we can ever list. She was a wonderful, supportive, creative, fun mom and we will always love her.

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A Memorial Tree was planted for Agnes
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Mission Mortuary
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