Donna Belmont

Obituary of Donna Marie Belmont

FRANKFORT- Mrs. Donna Marie (Perillo) Belmont, age 81, a lifelong Frankfort resident, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, October 20, 2022, in the privacy and comfort of her son Jim’s home in Parker, CO. Born on April 4, 1941, Donna was the daughter of the late Julius and Rose (Green) Perillo. She graduated from Frankfort Central Schools and continued her education at Utica School of Commerce. If there was one theme for Donna’s life it was her unrelenting commitment to her family. She often reminisced about her favorite memories of Little Grama, her cousin Joseph who was like a brother, huge Sunday dinners with 12 or sometimes 30 people packed into the kitchen and dining room at 401 Frankfort Street. No one went hungry and everyone got a care package. There were endless dinners with many courses — literally soup to nuts. Christmas Eve. Midnight Mass. Cucidatti. Homemade sausage and hot bread from the oven. The Feast of Seven Fishes. Lemon Meringue, Coconut Crème, and Minced Meat pies. Endless. Donna would love to tell stories about how her parents sat under the grapevines on the patio next to the pear tree with family and friends talking about life and working through problems and about how they provided for one another during some really difficult times. Living in a very small town, she attended elementary school across the street from her house at The Sarah M Piper School and took up ballet as a young elementary student. We understand that she even played some basketball and had a great set shot! Her mother would make her dresses and once even scraped money together to take her to New York City to show her where the dresses made in Frankfort were sold — 5th Avenue and for how much! Another recurrent theme from Donna’s childhood is that in her father Julius’ eyes she could do no wrong. One of the many funny stories is when she tried to sneak out of the house to go take pictures to give to her mother Rose. Her mother was cooking in the kitchen and looked out the window only to see a pair of ballet slippers falling like leaves from Donna’s bedroom window into the bushes on the side of the house. Her mother was really angry with her, not knowing what the plan was, and her father came to her rescue. He did that many times over. She was profoundly thankful for the hard working and creative family she had growing up. Surrounded by great Italian cooks and gardeners and had an especially close relationship with her mother, Rose, who was the family matriarch and a dress maker and with her father Julius Perillo who was a jazz trombonist, welder, janitor, a painter, and wallpaper hanger. She loved and adored her brother “Junior” and appreciated how he was always awakened early on weekends to do chores around the house while she was allowed to sleep in. She had a very special relationship with Phyllis Polizzi who lived “across the street.” They were sisters, loved one another, stood by one another, and talked almost every day. She loved her cousin Addie who always made her laugh and reminded her about living on 2nd Ave and the daiquiris sent across the street from Cousin John Gorea while she was feeding her baby (Michael). And who can forget, her Sister-In-Law and neighbor until the end Diane Perillo who always was there to help her and to “check in.” She was proud of the fact that her parents grew up and lived through the depression and became the glue that held her family and extended family and friends together. Donna carried on in this same way — the matriarch, the go to person, providing a place of wisdom, love, safety, and care. Donna was very wise and there was nothing she wouldn’t do for her family and friends. At 21, Donna married her high school sweetheart, Joseph Belmont in June 1962 and supported him as he made his way up the food chain in aerospace with General Electric. Mom was often credited with closing GE deals as the brass from the Pentagon or the Air Force came to the house for what Joe called “the last supper.” There was nothing she wouldn’t do for him. From helping to find places to store building supplies as they prepared to build their own home because Joe would wait to find sales on lumber and stored supplies away for a year or two prior to commencing construction on Button Lane. From packing lunches to helping him prepare for business trips and making sure home was a warm, caring place filled with love and food, Donna was loyal and hard working. When her children grew up and went to school and especially when her son Jim started kindergarten, Donna went back to work as the administrative assistant for the superintendent of schools, the school district clerk, the recording secretary for the Board of Education, and even (if you can believe it) the tax collector. Donna was organized and had a keen sense for what was right. Donna adored her children and grandchildren and had a deep longing to see her late daughter Jacqueline and late granddaughter Amanda Rose again. After almost losing another daughter in a serious car accident in 1987, she cared for her 15-year-old daughter Jill in extraordinary ways helping her to recover from a traumatic brain injury. Everyone noticed the depth of her love, her attention to detail, and her commitment to holding medical professionals accountable to do what they said they would do. Along with her husband Joseph they helped raise their grandson Jon. Donna and Joe also cared for Donna’s father for years having him move into their house rather than a nursing home — another true-to-form witness of the commitment and depth of care for her family. After the death of her husband Joe in 2020, Donna, as sad and depressed as she was and longing to see Joe again, kept her wit and her strength making sure to stay close with her family. With the care of her daughter Jill (interesting how things turn around), and support of her sons Jim and Michael she took the reins from Joe and made sure everything in the family moved ahead in his absence. Her children do think that her penchant for scratch off lottery tickets remained as robust as ever as did her interest in Wheel of Fortune and Family Feud. Donna was a fighter. She battled out of corners. Near the end of her life, she battled late-stage COPD and congestive heart failure. She had a few special nurses including Jolene in the step-down unit at St. Luke’s Memorial Hospital who “inspired” her to keep up the fervent fight to survive and get better. Special thanks to Jackie Maida for her loving care for Donna in the weeks leading up to her trip to CO. Donna also had two nurses helping, monitoring, and providing sage guidance who she loved very very much — her grandchildren Stephany and Michael Belmont. Without their love and support, Donna would most likely have not made it home, but she did. Donna got strong enough to travel to Denver Colorado to be with her son Jim and his wife Alex as well as with her grandchildren GiannaRose, Evan and Colin. She was thankful to Jim who created a comfortable, cheerful, and bright place for her in her last days with views of the mountains, a beautiful picture of her and Joe, the Teddy Bear given to her by Zine and Zaina and the warmth and care of Jim’s heart and hands. Donna shared a special bond with her daughters-in-law Karrie Ardolino, Tracy Belmont, Alexandria DeBoe-Belmont, and Susan Jennings. Visits with Alexandria and Karrie in her last days in Colorado were extremely special to her especially the cuddle time with GiannaRose and beautiful breakfasts with Jim. And what would be the last visit with Susan in Frankfort along with Zine and Zaina and Mike making macaroni and meatballs was another precious moment. They all held a special place in Donna’s heart. Donna loved to share stories with her grandchildren about everything from taking summer school classes so she could graduate with her class after missing the better part of the year of high school due to illness, to revealing long-held secrets like recipes for her sauce and meatballs. We know there are many other long-held secrets about countless people who Donna taught, encouraged, and helped throughout her life. You know who you are. Donna will be missed, but she will always be remembered and honored for her love, selflessness, wisdom, and kindness. If there was ever an archetype for mothers, Donna was the epitome. Donna leaves behind her beloved family: her daughter, Jill Michelle Belmont of Frankfort; her sons, Michael James “Mike” Belmont and Susan Jennings of Ithaca and James Joseph “Jim” Belmont and Alexandria of Parker, Colorado; her grandchildren, Stephany Belmont Landschoot and husband Christopher, Michael Belmont and Sam Belmont and their mother, Tracy; grandchildren Colin Ardolino and Evan Belmont and their mother, Karrie; and grandchildren Jon Kealy, GiannaRose Belmont, Zine Jennings and Zaina Jennings. She also leaves her sisters and brothers-in-law, Diane Perillo of Frankfort; MaryJane Butcher of New Hartford, Michelle and Steve Luckenbaugh of Manchester, Pennsylvania and Linda and Jim McMaster of Nunda, NY; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family members, as well as special sisters, friends, and cousins; Phyllis (Polizzi) Valent, Addie Gorea, Lisa Enea, Karin Piseck and Geri Button. She was predeceased by her infant daughter, Jacqueline Ann Belmont; her granddaughter, Amanda Rose Belmont, and brother Julius Perillo. Friends and relatives are invited to attend visitation for Donna on Thursday afternoon, November 3, 2022, from 4:00PM – 6:00PM at the Enea & Ciaccia Family Funeral Home, 4309 Acme Road, Town of Frankfort, Ilion, NY (315) 894-8000. Donna’s funeral service and Celebration of Life will commence on Thursday at 6:00PM at the funeral home, immediately upon the conclusion of visitation, with Deacon James Bower officiating. Interment will take place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Frankfort at the convenience of the family. For those wishing to do so, please consider memorial contributions in lieu of flowers to the COPD Foundation, 3300 Ponce de Leon Blvd Miami, Florida 33134, donations@copdfoundation.org or Frankfort-Schuyler Central Schools c/o The Donna and Joseph Belmont Fund. Envelopes will be available at the funeral home. The Belmont family has entrusted Donna’s final arrangements to Harry and Kevin Enea and Martin L. Ciaccia, Funeral Directors. Online notes of sympathy may be left at www.eneafamily.com.
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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Enea and Ciaccia Family Funeral Home (Ilion-Frankfort)
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