Yolanda "Lani" (Stanziola) Ruvolo

November 3, 1923 ~ January 27, 2021 (age 97)


Yolanda "Lani" Ruvolo, 96, of Cambridge Massachusetts passed away peacefully on January 27, 2021. She was the daughter of the late Raffaela (Mautone) and Biagio Stanziola, the beloved wife of the late Serafin (Sam) Thomas Ruvolo, mother of Renee Feinberg and her husband Stephen, of Fanwood, New Jersey; Donna Ruvolo and her wife, Lauren Crocker, of Belmont, Massachusetts and grandmother of Benjamin and Josue Crocker, and grand-dogs Lola and Cody. Yolanda was born in Amsterdam NY in 1923, the eldest of six girls. At a young age she and her family moved from Amsterdam to Rochester NY, where she resided for many years. Lani spoke Italian for the first six years of her life, but with the compassionate involvement of educators in the public schools, quickly learned English. She brought her new language skills home to her parents and younger sisters, and served as a reliable interpreter for the neighborhood even as a child. She was an avid reader her entire life. During World War II, Lani was involved in the war effort in a security clearance position as a bomb site engraver at Eastman Kodak. Following the war, she attended classes at the University of Rochester while working at various business positions, owned a small business on Lake Ontario, and served as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Studios. During this time she bought herself a Model A Ford, spent vacations traveling to dude ranches in the Adirondacks, and took early commercial flights from Rochester to New York City – a six hour flight that included three refueling stops along the way. In 1953, she met her future husband, Sam Ruvolo, at a local radio station, where they were both involved as on-air talent. They married in 1954 and moved to Sam's hometown of Elizabeth NJ, where they lived for many years and raised two daughters. The move to New Jersey provided easy access to New York City for Broadway shows, and the Jersey shore, and she, Sam and the girls took advantage of both, often with their local or out-of-town extended families. Vacations generally involved a rambling road trip that included stopping to read every roadside historical marker at Lani's behest. After their retirement, Lani and Sam would head to Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, or Martha's Vineyard on a whim. They were happiest when taking the back roads, often returning home with eggs and fresh produce from a happened-upon farm. Lani set a beautiful table, and did not hesitate to use linens, freshly arranged flowers and greens, china and silver for everyday use, but was just as happy with an easy meal and a paper plate on the porch. Unpretentious and unconventional, she would send her young daughters off to school with freshly popped popcorn as a substitute for boxed corn flakes, and encouraged them to color outside the lines in their coloring books (much to their horror) long before it was a cliché. For many years, Lani was involved with buying, selling, and acquiring antiques and collectables, sharing this passion with her children, family members and friends. She was quick to catch little seen details and could be counted on to explain design and craftsmanship. She worked in her garden no matter the time of year, and always fed the birds. Lani maintained a lifelong love of dancing, and found a catchy tune irresistible, often grabbing a stranger or a passing teenager to join her. She appreciated every form of music – from opera to honky-tonk – and, with Sam, encouraged singing in the car. She never refused an outing for a good slice of pizza. After fifty years of marriage and Sam’s death in 2006, Lani moved from New Jersey to Cadbury Commons in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 2015, where she resided for more than six years. In addition to her daughters and grandchildren, Lani leaves her sister Angela Franz and her husband Tom of Rochester, New York, many beloved nieces and nephews and their families in New Jersey, New York and around the country, and her devoted aide and companion, Sally Greaney. She is predeceased by her sisters Rose (Regruit), Romilda (Muratore), Beatrice (Polizzi) and Sally (Sullivan), all of Rochester, NY, as well as brother Alphonse and sister Marianne who died in childhood. Due to the current Covid 19 restrictions, a private funeral service is planned. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, family and friends consider a donation in her name to the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center:



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