Brigida “Betty” Caltabiano of East Quogue died at the Westhampton Care Center on January 10. She was 90.
Ms. Caltabiano was born on November 2, 1923, in Castellammare, Sicily, to Ludovico and Rosario Lombardo. She emigrated to the United States when she was 5 years old with her two sisters, Josephina and Vita.
Ms. Caltabiano started using the name “Betty” while in elementary school as the other children could not pronounce her given name, Brigida. She attended the High School of Needle Trades, founded in 1944 and now known as the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her desire to be a fashion designer later transformed to interior design when she and her husband owned Abbey Decorators. Survivors said she could create just about anything with material.
She was married to her husband, Angelo Dominick Caltabiano, for 58 years and had two children, Joseph Robert and Sandra. They lived in Massapequa from 1955 until 2001, when her husband died and she moved to East Quogue. She made many friends through the Hampton Bays Senior Center by regaining her love of the game mahjong.
Ms. Caltabiano was an extraordinary mother whose devotion and love of her family was unshakable, survivors said. They also said she was a dedicated, hard-working and extremely independent woman who took pleasure in the art of cooking. Never satisfied with any dish she made, she would often say, “It’s missing something” or “It needs a little more …”
She is survived by two children, Joseph Robert Caltabiano of Holbrook and Sandra Caltabiano of Brookhaven; two grandchildren, Robert and Barbara; and four great-grandchildren, Juliana, Christina, Angelina and Maria.
The family received friends at the Follett and Werner Funeral Home on January 12. A funeral service was held on January 13 at Calverton National Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia Hospital Milstein Family Heart Center, 173 Fort Washington Avenue, New York, NY 11032.