The Foundation creates a fund to honor the community service of Ciottos
Maria Ciotto-Larose remembers her mother, Jeanne Ciotto, who was a haunt mother for her brothers’ Cub and Boy Scout troops, having a meeting at their home with everyone gathered around the dining room table. family eating while laughing.
“She has always been very active in this area and everyone in the neighborhood loved her. She was the best den mother, ”Ciotto-Larose said. Jeanne Ciotto was constantly volunteering, Ciotto-Larose recalls, whether through her church or at Hartford Hospital, where she would later work as a medical secretary for the dialysis unit.
The children of Jeanne Ciotto and her husband Biagio “Billy” Ciotto will now see their parents’ legacy continue with a memorial fund to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Former Senator Billy Ciotto died at the age of 91 in March. Jeanne died a month after her husband, also at the age of 91. The couple, married for 66 years, had 5 children and 5 grandchildren.
Billy Ciotto had decades of public service under his belt. He was a former Deputy Commissioner of the State Department of Motor Vehicles and was elected to the Senate in 1994 for the first of six terms representing the 9th District, which included Wethersfield, Newington, Rocky Hill, Cromwell and Middletown. Until shortly before his death, Ciotto worked for Congressman John Larson as a roving ambassador.
In addition to Hartford Hospital, Jeanne Ciotto has been involved in many civic and political organizations, including the Council of the Sisters of Saint Joseph, the Red Hat Society, the Young Italian Women’s Club, the St. Theresa’s Guild at Sacred. Heart Church and the Wethersfield Senior Center.
Ciotto-Larose said that the Biagio “Billy” and Jeanne Ciotto Memorial Fund was the brainchild of former senator Paul Doyle, who followed Ciotto representing the 9th arrondissement, and PJ Cimini, lawyer and lobbyist.
“They are very good friends of my dad and my mom,” Ciotto-Larose said. “There was a group of people my parents loved as their own children and these two are part of it. They came up with the idea right after dad died and presented it to the five of us. We all loved it.
Proceeds from the fund will initially be directed to mental health initiatives and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ciotto-Larose said. The Ciotto’s five children and grandchildren will be the fund’s annual grant advisers.
“Their motto that they both lived and taught us was ‘Faith, family and friends’, and to help those who cannot help themselves and to never forget where you are from” , Ciotto-Larose said. “My mom always said it’s so much easier to be nice and make someone smile. My father always said that every house has its cross to bear. You never know what people are going through.
Ciotto-Larose said his parents would be delighted their family would participate in this fund.
“They are smiling,” she said.