Madeline "Lynn" Zerrillo passed away after a brief illness on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, at the Upstate Medical University Hospital in Syracuse, New York.
Born on April 22, 1921, in Syracuse, New York, she was the daughter of the late Nicholas Iurino and Carmella De Biase Iurino. She was predeceased by her husband, Anthony "Tony" Zerrillo; her son, Edward Zerrillo and her grandson, Philip Zerrillo.
Madeline was born, raised and educated in Syracuse, New York. Lynn and Tony were married on July 4, 1940 and moved to the farm on Court Street next to Syracuse China. In 1957 they moved to Miller Street in Cortland, New York and established what was to become known as the Cortland Green Houses. In addition to helping her husband with the greenhouse business she was an incredibly talented cook, quilter, artist, and cake decorator. While always interested in art at a very young age, she put it aside to focus on raising her family. After her children were grown, Lynn decided to try her hand at painting to fill some of her free time. As a self -taught artist who took classes at the Cortland Senior Center, she completed her first painting in the mid-1970s. This beautiful picture of a Schooner ship coming out of the mist riding high on a turbulent sea has hung proudly in her living room since she first painted it and has been coveted by everyone who has ever seen it. Over the years Lynn painted an untold number of pictures and gave them to members of her family and friends. Each year when the State Fair came around, she exhibited her most recent works of art. She would beam and be so proud just to be a part of the exhibition. To this day she still had a stack of ribbons that she received. Lynn also shared her wide range of talent with many young brides in Cortland during the 70s and 80s as she designed and created handmade wedding cakes for their special day. Every family celebration included a special "Gram" theme cake. Our family albums are filled with photos that demonstrated her talents but more importantly her love for everyone in her family.
In her 98 years on this earth, Lynn was able to live in her own home on Miller Street to the very end and had four children, eleven grandchildren, thirteen great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. She was a woman of strong faith and her commitment to her family was unwavering. She was kind, caring, selfless, intelligent and generous to a fault. As the matriarch of a very large extended family her greatest talent and gift was to make each individual feel as if they were her "favorite." When anyone was with her, she focused solely on them and she delighted and lived for the opportunity to be with her loved ones. Even with her family living across the United States she kept in touch with everyone and she never let a single birthday go by without sending a card. As the years passed and she became less mobile Lynn enjoyed reading and doing the daily jumble to keep her mind in tip top shape. Lynn loved to watch sports, but above all she was an avid NY Giants & NY Yankees fan spending most of her days watching baseball. Derek Jeter was by far her favorite player of all time. Her theory was that if the Yankees were playing it was a good day. If they had a bad game and lost, she would watch it once, but if they did win the game, in all her delight, she would watch the replay over and over to keep celebrating.
Lynn spent her 98th birthday on April 22nd surrounded by her family. Her table by her favorite chair in the living room was filled with Birthday cards and special drawings. She received one phone call after another from her family who couldn't come home to be with her and thanks to modern technology, she was able to FaceTime with some of her youngest great grandkids. The smile on her face when she saw those children said it all - she was a woman who was loved beyond measure and she was the happiest woman on earth!! Now she is heaven and we will miss her immensely, but we all have incredible memories to keep her close in our hearts.
Madeline is survived by her son, Anthony "Zeke" and daughter-in-law, Christine Zerrillo of Cortland; by her son, Bob and daughter-in-law, Sandy Zerrillo of Slingerlands; by her daughter, Connie and son-in-law Jim Finnerty of Cortland; grandchildren, Joseph Zerrillo of Cortland; Lynn (Dave) Haughn of Pinehurst, ID; Laura (Bradd) Morris of Leominster, MA; Sherry (Mark) Holcomb of Cortland; Jason Zerrillo of Saratoga Springs; Daniel (Erica) Zerrillo of Slingerlands; Alexandra "Lexi" Zerrillo of Slingerlands; Kelly (Dan) Haley of Niceville, FL; Kristen (Sokha) Yim of Parrish, FL; and Christopher Timmons of Jamesville, NY; thirteen great grandchildren; two great-great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be at the Wright Beard Funeral Home in Cortland, NY on Monday, July 8, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church in Cortland, NY on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at 11 a.m. Interment will be private at the St. Mary's Cemetery in Cortland.
To offer online condolences please visit www.wright-beard.com