On May 29, 2023, we said goodbye to Wilma Treasa (Gibellino) Connolly, our beautiful, amazing, strong mother and friend who was always there for us. Wilma was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on the first day of summer in 1931. She is survived by her two daughters, Cynthia Slevin (Edward) and Kathleen Connolly; grandchildren Nicholas Connolly, Shannon Wozniak (Robert), and Rachael Ott; great grandchildren Olivia Connolly, Ryan and Natalie Wozniak. She was predeceased by her Italian immigrant parents Augusto and Cesarina Gibellino, her brothers Clyde, Robert and William Gibellino and sister Margaret Gibellino; her husband of 65 years Edward Connolly, her daughters Susan and Kelle Connolly, and grandson Michael Slevin. Wilma was a first generation American and the last of the greatest generation in her family.
Wilma (Gibby) attended St. James Catholic School until her junior year when she transferred to Dormont High School and graduated in 1948. At a young age she worked at Ferrato’s packing noodles and then spent time assisting a professional seamstress where her sewing skills were perfected. After high school she worked in the credit department at Gimbels Department Store and then attended the Robert Morris School of Business (Pinkerton). After graduating from business school, she worked for Chatfield and Woods before landing a dream job with Capitol Records in Pittsburgh.
Wilma always enjoyed playing sports and after attending her first Pittsburgh Hornets hockey game, she was determined to learn to ice skate. Her love for ice skating at Duquesne Gardens in Pittsburgh changed her life, where she met her husband Edward who had just returned home from his service in the Army. They were married in 1954 and in 1959 they moved their family from Pittsburgh to Manassas, Virginia. Being from the city, the first question she had when settling in rural Manassas was, where do you catch the streetcar. Upon finding out there was no public transportation, she immediately obtained a driver’s license. She would drive her girls anywhere, from shopping in Seven Corners, swimming in Middleburg, skating at Cabin John, trips to Virginia Beach, visiting relatives, etc. When her girls were young, they attended All Saints Catholic School where she was active in the Women’s Club and was a substitute teacher there as well as for public schools.
Wilma (Willi) had many interests in addition to sports. She was a talented seamstress for her girls, always making them beautiful matching dresses, doll clothes, and when they were older, they could tell her a dress was needed for an event, and she would have it ready. She had an eye for style and took great pride in caring for her family, her home and her gardens. Willi loved to work in her beautiful gardens where she found a spiritual connection. She was unique, a creative designer and an avid collector of antiques. Willi was a wonderful cook all her life even at 91 and could provide the best Italian dinner. Family was important to her, and she always made sure every milestone, holiday, any event in her family’s life was celebrated together. Willi loved to travel with their lifelong group of friends from trips to the Lions Club conventions, semi-annual Myrtle Beach golf trips, annual Vermont trips, Italy, Ireland, Australia and any other trip her friends planned since they took turns organizing adventures and making memories together.
Wilma lived a good life with her family and friends; we find comfort in knowing she will be reunited with all of her loved ones.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, June 4, 2023, from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Olde Towne Funeral Home, 9320 West Street, Manassas, VA 20110. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, June 5, 2023, at 12:30 PM at All Saints Catholic Church, 9300 Stonewall Road, Manassas, VA 20110 with Rev. Lee Roos officiating. Interment will follow at Stonewall Memory Gardens, Manassas, VA.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Wilma T. Connolly to Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center in Haymarket, Virginia where they have wonderful programs to help children, teens, adults, military, etc with physical, cognitive, and/or mental health challenges.