With a heavy heart, the Joseph and Elda Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America and the Montclair State University community mourn the passing of Mrs. Elda M. Coccia.
Along with her husband, Cav. Joseph Coccia, Jr., Elda co-founded the Coccia Institute for the Italian Experience in America at Montclair State University, which advances and preserves Italian American culture, serving as an engine for explorations into the rich history of Italians and Italianità in the United States in the arts and humanities, business and politics, food and popular culture. Throughout the years, Elda’s continued support of students at Montclair State University touched the lives of many, specifically students enrolled in Italian courses. Elda’s generosity afforded students the opportunity to continue their Italian studies, nurturing their passion for the culture and language.
The Coccia Foundation, which she and her husband, Joseph, founded together, also has supported numerous Italian programs at colleges throughout the country, as well as scholarship grants, study abroad programs, library Italian book collections and contributions to children’s charities. Elda’s dedication to preserving the richness of the Italian culture and constant support of students rediscovering their cultural roots has made her an exemplary and respected benefactor within the Italian American community.
Born in Lioni, Avellino, Italy to the late Anna and Angelo Soriano, Elda came to the United States in 1947 and led a life of service to others, expanding beyond the Italian American community. This was displayed through her devout commitment to her faith as a parishioner of St. Philip the Apostle R.C. Church in Saddle Brook, her selfless volunteer endeavors at Hackensack University Medical Center in which she knit over 1,000 blankets for infants with cancer, and her support as a former member of the Ladies Auxiliary of UNICO in Kearny.
Elda is predeceased by her husband Cav. Joseph Coccia, Jr., and survived by their five children, Genevieve Nicastro, Elisa Coccia, Marisa Kettelhut, Joseph Coccia III and Christopher Coccia; ten grandchildren; and ten great grandchildren.
The Coccia Institute extends our deepest condolences to the entire Coccia Family. We will miss Elda’s radiant presence, though we know that she is now happily reunited with her husband.
Visitation will occur on Sunday, April 2nd from 1-5pm at the Costa Memorial Home Boulevard and Central Ave. in Hasbrouck Heights. The funeral will take place on Monday, April 3rd at 10:00am at St. Philip the Apostle R.C. Church in Saddle Brook. Entombment following at Holy Cross Chapel Mausoleum, North Arlington.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in her memory to Coccia Foundation, 23 Leswing Avenue, Saddlebrook, NJ 07663.
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