Julieta Canfarotta (nee Santos)

Julieta Canfarotta (nee Santos)

Julieta Canfarotta, loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunt, died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of Tuesday, December 27, 2022 at 86 years young.

Julieta was born February 16, 1936 on a small farm in Sao Felipe, Bahia, Brazil. She was the strong willed and independent daughter of Tiburcio Santos and Maria Rosa Sales. One of seven children, she left her small town in Bahia and moved to Rio de Janeiro, where she worked as a companion to an elderly woman who shared her home, life lessons and most importantly, taught her how to cook some of her best loved dishes. After a few years she moved to Sao Paulo, and while taking care of newborns in a hospital nursery, she met the love of her life, Gioacchino Canfarotta, or Mimmo as he was known to his friends and family.

The story they told was that Julieta was on the way to watch a Cary Grant film when she walked by a handsome young man waiting by the bus stop. He followed her to the movie theater, bought her ticket and popcorn and then walked her home. She bragged that even though he spoke very little Portuguese and she spoke no Italian whatsoever, that she met the man she was going to marry. They dated for several years, and were finally married the morning of August 12, 1964 at City Hall and Julieta boarded a flight to the United States at 6pm that evening. Our father would joke that he “never even got to taste any wedding cake!” They were married for close to 47 years, and renewed their vows four times. Julieta said “it was to make sure that the wedding stuck” and Mimmo stated “that I just want the honeymoon I didn't get the first time.” They truly loved each other through 47 years of marriage, raising children, through good times and bad. Julieta was heartbroken when Mimmo passed away in August, 2008.

She fulfilled her dream to come to America, and was an Aupair to the four Benjamin children. Mimmo followed her six months later.. Julieta and Mimmo settled in Philadelphia, and raised their family in the Northeast, surrounded by many friends, neighbors and their chosen family. Julieta was a consummate hostess, always ready with a joke, the more inappropriate, the better, a fresh glass of wine and a tasty meal. She opened her home to her friends and family, and her daughters’ many friends. No matter what time of day (or night) someone would stop by, she always had a plate of food and a good story ready. She was an amazing cook, and made the best roast beef in the world. She never shared her recipes with anyone, as she never accurately measured or followed a written recipe. She used whatever was handy or available at the moment, and her directions would include “some, but not too much of… “ OR “a little more than a pinch... “ and my favorite “You’ll know when it’s done.” No mom, we never do!

She was a proud homemaker, and her home was always spotless, much to the dismay of her daughters and husband who would have things misplaced and waylaid during her cleaning. She was unstoppable, always on the go, but would finally sit down to “rest her legs” in the afternoon, usually with a cup of coffee in her hand and the Young and the Restless on the TV. We grew up hearing about Victor and his shenanigans so often, we thought he was a distant relative. She enjoyed sitting on the front steps of her home on Summerdale Ave talking about her day with her family or the neighbors.

Julieta was fun loving, charming, stubborn and had a wicked sense of humor. She loved her family and her friends and never met a stranger. She wore the deepest red lipstick (the redder the better), was always elegantly put together, even in shorts and a simple t-shirt. She was always ready to go on an adventure, as long as we were home by her bedtime.

Julieta is survived by her two adoring younger sisters, Amalia Lamelza and Antonieta Sales Santos. She leaves behind her daughters, Marcella (Tom Russo), Manuela Rucki and Rose Fuller (Andy) to carry on her legacy and is further survived by her beautiful grandchildren: Isabella, Sebastian, Sofia, John, Alexander and Xavier and many heartbroken nieces and nephews in both Brazil and Italy. And of course, Leo, her rescue cat, though who rescued whom, is still debated.

Relatives and friend's are invited to Julieta's Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, December 30th, 10AM at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church located at 5450 E. Roosevelt Blvd, Phila. PA. 19124. A viewing will be held for Julieta on Thursday evening, December 29th from 6pm-8pm and again on Friday morning from 8:15am-9:15am at John F. Fluehr and Sons Funeral Home located at 3301 Cottman Ave Phila. PA. 19149. Interment will be held at Resurrection Cemetery in Bensalem, PA.                      

The family asks that you swipe on your brightest red lipstick, or wear something red, and raise a glass in her memory. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to https://www.gentlebarn.org/donate/ or https://act.alz.org/site/Donation2

John F. Fluehr & Sons, Inc.

Funeral Home Serving Families Since 1898

3301 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19149


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