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Mary Lou Massara

September 19, 1951 - March 5, 2023


♥♥ Not how did she die, but how did she live? ♥♥
♥♥ Not what did she gain, but what did she give? ♥♥
♥♥ These are true units that measure the worth of any human being. ♥♥

On March 5, 2023, the heavens gained yet another angel, far before her time. Mary Lou Massara, nee DeBacco, age 71, passed away peacefully on Sunday after battling a rare form of dementia, FTD.

Born in Geneva, NY in 1951 to a feisty Italian immigrant and his sweet loving wife, she was the youngest of six. Predeceased by her parents William and Antoinette DeBacco, three brothers; Carmen, Billy, and Ronnie, sister Vivian (and surviving brother, Deno DeBacco). Mary Lou graduated from Geneva High in June of 1970.

In the fall of 1970 she met the love of her life, Tom Massara. The first day of her freshman year at Alfred State College, Mary Lou caught his eye and he insisted on helping to move her into the dorm. She wouldn’t give him the time of day but her mom and aunt persuaded her to give him a second look. Not long after, he drove her home for Thanksgiving break, met her family, and the rest was history.

Together they built a family in the town where they met Alfred NY, and had three daughters, Danielle (Jose) Mora, Nicole (Patrick) Cregan, and Michelle Massara.  The house was always full of friends from all walks of life, warm and welcoming, Mary Lou loved without judgment. She was an adoring Grandma (Amma) to four beautiful grandbabies, Samuel Mora, Eloise Mora, Jack Cregan, and Beatrice Cregan. Tom and Mary Lou celebrated 50 years of marriage on July 1, 2022.

She cared for an array of people throughout her life and over her years as an RN. Graduating from Alfred State college, she started her nursing career at Bethesda as a charge nurse, and ended her career as a beloved student health care nurse on the Alfred State campus. A true caretaker for all, she took in many students that needed her maternal comfort and care.

Giving was her love language; not just in the physical sense but in the sense that she would give her time and energy to anyone in need. With a contagious laugh, infamous “kitty voice”, and a smile that could light up a room, Mary Lou was truly a one-of-a-kind human. She brought light everywhere she went and she loved with her whole heart.

The Massara family would like to make special note of the compassionate staff at the Wellsville Manor. All the tiny miracles and the people who tirelessly work to care for our elder community deserve acknowledgement. We are forever grateful for those that helped us navigate this tough journey.

There will be a ‘Celebration of Life’ held for Mary Lou this Friday, March 10th from 4pm-6pm at The Main Place, 251 Main Street, Hornell, NY 14843. All are welcome to come and celebrate the vibrant person we will all miss so dearly. Arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home in Andover.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the FTD foundation at where together we will work to fight this terrible disease. © 2023 Baker-Swan Funeral Home


Celebration of Life:
Friday, March 10, 2023
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
The Main Place
251 Main Street
Hornell, NY

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14 Messages

  1. This is a beautiful picture of a beautiful woman! We love and miss her, but are sure she rejoices in the continuing beauty of her surviving family. You are all the shining reminder of a life well lived! ❤️

  2. Your message I worked with Mary Lou, we called her Lou sometimes, at the student health center at Alfred State College. I just want her daughters to know she talked about each of you a lot. She was so proud of all of you.

  3. Mary Lou was a wonderful person and beautiful soul. May your love and memories of your wife and mother comfort you.

  4. Tom,

    I am very sorry to hear of your wife’s passing. Having just lost my husband of 34 years in January, I have some idea of how you feel. Please allow others to help you in this time of sorrow. I was resistant at first but have found that they have given me the strength I need to go on. Remember the good times. You will be in my prayers.

  5. Tom,
    So sorry to hear about Lou. Thinking of you and your family.

    Our memories of Lou are of a happy, cheerful person. We have many great memories of time years ago in Alfred.

    Love to you and your girls.

    Bill and Laura Joy


  6. Deposit sympathies for you and your families loss. What a beautiful picture, she will always live through all of you forever.

  7. One of God’s blessings for me was knowing Lou. She was a wonderful person, gifted cook, ( she taught me to make the best spaghetti sauce), caring and intelligent nurse, and friend. I never felt I was her boss, but her friend. We shared stories about our daughters and extended families. She will be missed but never forgotten.

  8. I have fond memories of Mary Lou extending back over half a century. She was an excellent student in my psychology classes, a genial colleague at Alfred State, and a friendly neighbor on West University Street. She always laughed when we joked that she and Tom “found each other” attending my General Psychology class. That story might even be true.

    It is sad to lose such a gracious lady so soon. My sympathy goes out to Tom, their daughters, and the entire family. Mary Lou will be greatly missed by her family and many friends.

  9. A wonderful woman, friend, and former colleague. Our thoughts are with Tom and the family.

  10. Mary Lou was an exceptional human being in all regards . I will always remember her warm smile , greeting
    and open heart every time I saw her .

    My heart goes out to her family.

    God Bless
    Tim Loyd

  11. Tom and family, I never met your wife but wanted to extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family. There will come a time when you find peace with her passing but for now celebrate her life and cherish all the memories. May she rest in peace!

  12. Lou was a wonderful wife, mother and grandmother. She greeted everyone with a sincere smile and always made others around her better. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom and family.

  13. Just found out about Mary-Lou ‘s passing. We were former college roommates. She was a wonderful, sweet person. So sorry…

  14. I just saw Mary-Lou’s obituary. I worked with Mary-Lou at Alfred State in the health center and I was drawn to her as a friend immediately. Who wouldn’t? She was fun and full of life! She was such an ally and supporter. When I was new to the position of health educator and trying to get comfortable and acclimate, she came back to campus after a long day of working and showed up to my speaker engagement program on campus in support! She loved her family and was so proud of her kids. Hugs to Tom and family. You will be forever missed Lou.


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