Wanda Stark

Oct 23, 2018
Wanda Stark

Gulfport, Miss. — Earth’s loss was heaven’s gain Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, as Wanda Stark completed her earthly adventure and went on to begin the next. Among others impatiently awaiting her were her beloved mother and father, Domenico and Apollonia Devito, and two of her dearest friends, Gino Scialdone and Lide Barrett.

Wanda’s catchphrase was “La vita e bella” ("life is beautiful"), and she held onto that belief no matter what adversity came her way. War, poverty and serious illness were no match for Wanda, and she faced every one of those obstacles with great courage and dignity.

Wanda met her true love, Stanley Stark, when he was stationed in Naples, Italy, where she was born and raised. They married in 1960, and embarked upon a love affair that would last for more than 58 years and served as an example of loyalty and devotion to their three children.

Relocating from a major European metropolis of nearly a million to a tiny, rural New England town of barely 100 might have broken some, but not Wanda! She and her mother, Nonna, fought the isolation with their warmth and fun and culinary skills, and before long, their ladies’ pizza and wine parties became famous in Burkettville. She was making lemonade long before it was a thing!

Richly blessed with many gifts, Wanda’s work ethic was one of her most notable qualities. She worked tirelessly in and out of the home to help provide for her family. She maintained a spotless home, grew two large vegetable gardens, raised chickens, worked in a sardine factory, picked apples and cleaned homes. There was not one pretentious bone in her body, and she was never above any honest labor.

While Stanley served in the Navy and was often called away from home, Wanda took on the primary responsibility for raising their three children. Although she became an American citizen and loved her adopted country, she instilled in them a strong sense of pride for their Italian heritage and insisted that both languages be spoken in their home.

Much to her family’s combined delight and horror, Wanda was not one to sugarcoat things. She lived authentically and called things as she saw them. If she loved you, she loved you without reservation, and if she was angry with you, she would let you know about that, too.

In addition to her beloved husband, Stanley, Wanda is survived by her brother, Aldo Devito, and his wife, Morena; her oldest daughter, Ada Stewart, and her husband, James; her son, Larry Stark, and his wife, Diana; her youngest daughter, Linda Baker, and her husband, Kelly; and her three precious grandchildren, Marty Winnard, Sam Stark,and Haley Stark. She truly loved them all.

We will never forget our dear Wanda, our wife, our mother, our sister, our friend. Her sense of humor, her generosity, her dignity and her moral compass all live on in us. Although her departure has left a huge hole in our lives, we promise to honor her memory by trying to be the people she expected us to be.

A funeral service was held Friday, Oct. 19, at Riemann Faily Funeral Home, Gulfport, Miss., with a visitation for family and friendsbeforehand. The Rev. Robert Baker officiated. Wanda was laid to rest with a private family ceremony.

An online obituary may be viewed and memories shared at riemannfamily.com

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