Karen (Chiarina)Mattera Cuddy
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New York City-Morris, NY.------Karen died on March 8, 2021 at New York Hospital of bacterial pneumonia. Her husband and sons were in her room at the time. She was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 16, 1929 to Vicenzo Mattera and Regina Barbieri. At birth, she was named Chiarina which in childhood became Karen. Her parents had separately immigrated to the United States, as children, from Ischia, Italy. Ischia is a volcanic island in the Bay of Naples that was first settled by the Greeks c. 800 B.C.
She grew up in a home where Italian was the first language and where she learned Southern Italian cooking from her mother. In married life, she used this skill to entertain family and friends on innumerable occasions.
Karen excelled in New York City public schools and graduated from Erasmus Hall High School. She started reading adult literature while in grammar school and was an avid reader her whole life. Many referred to her as a “wordsmith.”
While in high school, Karen read her first The New Yorker magazine and sought and obtained part-time employment at the magazine. She subsequently became a lifetime subscriber.
As a teenager, Karen became a popular music fan and over several years attended live performances of many of its stars, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Edith Piaf, and Billie Holiday.
While attending Long Island University in 1958, she worked part time at a New York City restaurant. There she met her husband Michael Cuddy, also a college student working part-time. Upon Michael’s graduation from Fordham University, they married on June 25, 1960. They started married life in Washington, D.C. where Michael was enrolled at Georgetown University Law Center. While in Washington, Karen was an administrative aide on the House Judiciary Committee.
She and her husband returned to her beloved Brooklyn in early 1964. Her son Miles was born in May of that year, joining a family that included his brother. James was born in Washington in 1961.In December 1964, she and her husband purchased a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn where they became part of the “pioneer” movement in that neighborhood. After residing there for 30 years, they moved to Palm Beach, FL in 1994.
In 1965, Karen undertook her 32-year career at the Wall Street Journal, retiring in 1997 as Submissions (OP-ED) Editor on the Editorial Page of the newspaper.
Beginning in the 1980’s, Karen and Michael traveled extensively in Europe over the next 25 years. They were able to visit Ischia, the birthplace of her mother and father several times. In 1995 she and her family purchased Morris Manor, a historic home in Otsego County. They spent over two decades restoring the property. She and Michael resided there and at an apartment in New York City.
Survivors include sons James and Miles; four grandchildren, Travis, Jacqueline, Michael and Ryan; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Calling hours will be held Friday March 19, 2021 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Riley Mortuary, Inc., 110 Division Street, Amsterdam, NY 12010.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial, which will be celebrated Saturday March 20, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 156 East Main Street, Amsterdam, NY, with Rev. Jeffrey L’Arche, M.S. officiating.
Interment at her husband’s family grave site in St. Johnsville, New York will take place in the spring. A memorial service will be held in New York City as soon as pandemic restrictions are lifted.
To send online condolences to the family, visit www.rileymortuaryinc.com