Floral 06

Vera (Motta) DiMeglio Stabile DiPippo Punke

August 29, 1915 ~ September 8, 2023 (age 108) 108 Years Old
Read more about the life story of Vera and share your memory.    


Vera Motta DiMeglio Stabile DiPippo Punke, born in Providence, Rhode Island, August 29, 1915, died at her retirement home in Arlington, Virginia on September 8, 2023 at the age of 108. She was predeceased by her parents, Amedeo and Rosina Lancellotti Motta, three siblings, Amedeo Motta and Ida Motta of Cranston, RI, and Rose Caione of Tamarac, Florida, and four loving husbands: Her first husband, Aldo DiMeglio, passed away in December 1959; Her second, Carmine Stabile, passed away in August 1977; Albert DiPippo, passed away in May 1981; and Chester Punke, who passed away in December 2002. Her only son, Richard DiMeglio, died in 2010; her daughter-in-law, Jerra DiMeglio (Richard), also died in 2010.

Vera is survived by her beloved daughter, Ellie (“Cookie”) DiMeglio Parrott (Evan) of Ashburn, Virginia, two grandsons, Steven (Kristen) and Robert (Gia) and four great-grandsons (Evan Hagan III, Owen Daniel, Eli Jesse and Joseph Booker). 

Vera led a very active and productive life. She served on many committees and volunteered for many worthy causes in Rhode Island, in Florida and, most recently, in Arlington, Virginia.  

She was president and owner of Elda’s Gift Shops in Providence, Cranston, and Warwick, RI. She was also co-founder and Life Member of the Women’s Youth League of Rhode Island. Vera was the co-founder and Vice President of Hearts Unlimited, as well as co-founder and Vice President of the Property Owners of Providence and Kent Counties, Inc. While living in Garden City, RI, Vera was the original organizer of Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts.

She was also a former member of the Providence Preservation Society, the League of Women Voters, the Museum of Art, the Order of the Sons of Italy/Christopher Columbus Lodge # 2413, and Treasurer of the Italian-American Historical Society.

After moving from Rhode Island to Florida in 1990, Vera served as Historian of the Lauderdale-By-The-Sea Women’s Club and was a member of the Deerfield Beach Country Club. She also frequently served as the informal Women’s Club Chaplain, offering original blessings from her heart to start their meetings.

Burial was at St. Ann’s Catholic Cemetery, Cranston, RI.

Vera had a favorite saying: “Do not regret getting older; it is a privilege that many will not experience.   

Those are the bare facts about Vera’s life. Those names, dates and numbers cannot, however, fully describe the rich, productive and even inspirational long life of this extraordinary woman. Born of immigrant parents, she was always full of life and exuberantly enjoyed living life to the fullest from childhood to maturity.  That’s one of the reasons why she planned and hosted a “Living Wake” when she was in her seventies. “Life is for the living,” she was fond of saying, and the “Living Wake” offered her an opportunity to party with her friends, relatives, and neighbors while she was still alive. Everyone--especially Vera--had a great time. She said, “Everyone told me it was the best wake they had ever attended.”

Despite the tragedies and personal losses that she experienced during her lifetime, Vera always managed to pick herself up and get on with life—with courage, determination and enthusiasm. For example, she never felt sorry for herself or the unfairness of being left alone as a young widow, with little insurance to cushion the impact, and with two young children to raise.  She simply grabbed herself by the proverbial bootstraps, sold the house and car, moved into a duplex owned by her Mother for a short while, and opened a business!

And that’s the way she always lived her life: determined to attack problems and obstacles, even when it would have been convenient to accept one’s fate. It’s a great American story! She never let life’s vicissitudes get her down in the dumps. She rarely got more excited than when she played Bridge. Vera could recall practically every hand she was dealt, every bid she made, and every counter-move her opponents made for the last 50 years. In her retirement home (The Jefferson, Arlington, Virginia), rarely did a week go by without her name appearing as one of the top three winners in the weekly Bridge Activities column in The Jefferson newsletter or one of its daily activities screens.

Her opponents in a so-called “friendly” game of bridge always discovered her remarkable competitiveness. She may have been dealt a weak hand at the card table (as in life from time to time), but she never gave up, quit, or became disheartened. Instead, she focused like a laser beam, and then aggressively played every hand dealt her and, more often than not, won the card game or, in the process, the “game” of life.

Vera loved living her “golden years” in The Jefferson. She was especially pleased and honored when The Jefferson, the Arlington Police and Fire Departments, celebrated her 105th birthday with a noisy and colorful parade in front of her building. Coming as it did during the Covid-19 restrictions, the parade was a breath air for Vera and all of the residents of The Jefferson. A Proclamation honoring Vera and read by Ms. Libby Garvey, Chair of the Arlington County Board, was a special honor. The celebration of Vera’s 107th birthday was a party to beat all parties—until her 108th celebration. At the 107th party, there was a bagpipe player to herald her entrance into The Jefferson’s main living room where practically all the residents of The Jefferson came to extend best wishes. “Charlie Chaplin” and “Marilyn Monroe” were special guests and charmed everyone.

Her 108th party topped all previous celebrations! Her retirement home created a series of posters that succinctly captured the highlights of Vera’s life, decade by decade. Over 200 family, friends, retirement home residents and staff, and even a professional videographer all joined in a joyous celebration of Vera’s life. Coming one week before her passing, there could not have been a more fitting tribute to this remarkable and inspirational woman.

Vera never let her age slow her down. In fact, she loved the challenge of doing things that others might not do. That’s one of the main reasons she entered the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics—and was presented a gold medal!

Vera loved to make people happy. Whether putting raisins in her delicious muffins (“Everything is better with raisins,” she was fond of saying) or giving two-dollar bills to her excited great-grandsons, or surprising friends and neighbors with hand-made and unexpected favors or small gifts, Vera was happy to see the sense of excitement, happiness and surprise on everyone’s face.

We are all immensely richer for the example set by this wonderful woman. As a wife and homemaker, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, businesswoman, community organizer and leader, or just the best friend or neighbor one could ever hope to have, Vera brought vitality, conviviality, friendship, and an inspirational lifestyle to those who were lucky enough to know her.

One person remained the center of her life through all of life’s up’s and down’s—her daughter, Cookie. Even late in life Vera would get a twinkle in her eye and wistfully describe the arrival of her little brown-haired/brown-eyed baby daughter. Vera’s husband Aldo often said their new daughter was as “cute as a cookie.” The nickname stuck. Vera loved Cookie as much as any Mom could love a daughter. And Vera was highly protective, even after Cookie had graduated from college and flying for an airline out of Washington’s National Airport. When Cookie told her Mother that Evan had proposed marriage, Vera and her husband jumped on an airplane the next weekend and flew to D.C. to check him out. (Luckily for Evan, he passed inspection!)

Although she lived until 2023, Vera knew that she was slowing down a bit, physically, and was facing the inevitable end-of-life.  As she approached her 99th birthday in August 2014, Vera became a little more philosophical about her life and the guidelines she used throughout her long and rich time on this Earth. She began to write down a number of “I Believe” statements—observations and guidelines that captured the essence of her life. One of those statements succinctly summarizes her approach to life:

I hear God calling me and saying that it is time to go. I pretend not to hear him; He knows I cannot hear well. I’ll go as I get ready.

That was pure Vera--recognizing the power of Almighty God, but negotiating a few “conditions” just to show that she was still highly capable of managing her life.  A few years before her 108th birthday, she wrote the following: 

“I’m now ready to go. I’ve had a good life and wonderful family. I ask you to forgive me for not doing more, but I always tried to do my best with love in my heart. I shall always pray that God’s grace will always be with you all. I do hope that, when my time comes, I’ll leave this world a little better than I found it. Love you all.” 

Vera definitely made the world a better place and, for those of us who were fortunate to call her “Mother,” “Grandma,” or “Great-Grandma,” or just “Vera,” she enriched our lives in uncountable ways. We loved her deeply and we’ll miss her forever. She left this world a lot better than when it first welcomed her in August 1915.

One can almost hear Vera singing a line from one of her favorite Frank Sinatra songs: “The record shows I took the blows and did it my way.”

There is one final thought that will always remind us of Vera: In writing down her list of what constitutes a friend, she said that, “If you live in the hearts and minds of friends and family, you will never die.”

Vera will always live in our hearts and minds. Goodbye and may you rest in the hands of Almighty God forever. Rest in peace, Vera, we will always love you.

Funeral services were private for Vera and she was laid to rest with her late husband Aldo at St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.

Please share memories and condolences at www.WoodlawnRI.com

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In Loving Memory Of

Vera DiMeglio Stabile DiPippo Punke

August 29, 1915-September 8, 2023

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In Loving Memory Of

Vera DiMeglio Stabile DiPippo Punke

August 29, 1915-September 8, 2023

Look inside to read what others have shared

Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in the book.   

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