Sara Oronzi Naples passed away of natural causes on December 21st, 2023, at the young age of 102. All who knew Sara remember her as a woman of substance; witty, intelligent, patriotic and passionate about her family, her work and her Italian heritage.
In her professional years, Sara was Buffalo, New York's chief attorney holding an important position in city government running the City’s law department as Corporation Council. When offered the appointment, Sara was quoted in the Buffalo News as saying she immediately thought of her mother, the late Pauline Montana Oronzi, also a career woman, and wondered what advice she would give. “The one thought I had was, what would my mother say if I didn't take the job? My mother believed strongly in asserting yourself, in higher education and in having a profession. If I came home from school with marks in the high 80's, my parents wondered why they couldn't be in the 90's. My mother felt my place was in getting an education and playing the piano. And I don't mean for 30 minutes a day, but rather, 3-4 hours a day! When you've had that kind of training, it's hard to turn away from a challenge. So I took the job."
Sara was born in Palermo, Sicily and grew up on the west side of Buffalo. She proudly attended Hutchinson Technical High School prior to completing her classical music performance education in Rome, Italy where she studied to become a concert pianist at the Music Conservatory of Rome. When World War II broke out, with Italy ensconced in war, Sara returned to Buffalo. She attended the University of Buffalo School of Law where she was the only female in her graduating class of 1947. Her late husband, John J. Naples, was also an attorney who predeceased her in 2002, he also held the position of the City’s top lawyer amongst other political appointments some years before.
Sara was a well-loved member of her community in Palm Springs, and in retirement remained active with numerous charitable endeavors. She was a managing member of her homeowner’s association, and most important to her as a devout Catholic, was a lector and Eucharistic Minister at her Church, Our Lady of Solitude.
Sara leaves behind her children, Paula and her partner Fred Hoschett of Los Angeles, John and his wife Cathy of San Diego, Rachel and her dog Lucca of Los Angeles and Nicholas and his wife Deborah of Las Vegas, along with her two incredible grandchildren William and Natasha. Sara will be sadly missed by her family, and by her many friends and colleagues all of whom know she is but a heartbeat away.
A funeral service in celebration of Sara’s life will be held at Forest Lawn Mortuary in Cathedral City/Palm Springs, CA on Wednesday January 10th at 11:00 am.
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