Rosalie Cortese (née Costanzi) passed away peacefully and painlessly from a recurrence of colon cancer in the company of her daughter, nephew, and nephew’s wife, on August 27, 2022.
She is survived by her children Louis and Janis Cortese, four nephews Kevin, Carl, Chris, and Kyle Costanzi, and her hopes to see the Sixers win the NBA championship. She was predeceased by her son Steve, her husband Louis, her brother Philip, and her hopes to see the Flyers win the Stanley Cup.
She was born in South Philly on July 22, 1934 to Abbruzzese immigrant parents Maria Carmela Pistilli and Pasquale Costanzi. Her childhood was a blur of mad roller skating, fantastic food, playing passi (hopscotch), and violin lessons occasionally punctuated by attempts to jump out the second floor window with her brother while holding an umbrella, narrowly averted by their mother. Most of these hijinks were carried out while wearing her best dresses, made for her by her clothing designer mother.
She met and fell in love with Louis Cortese while both worked at First Pennsylvania Bank in Center City, who upon his first sight of her zipping up rain boots later recalled seeing only long legs and long black hair. They married on May 19, 1956 and were together very happily until Louis’ extremely untimely passing in 1987.
She continued to work in Center City, walking to and from the Glenolden train station every single day to do so, thus proving by her longevity and relative vigor the benefits of moderate daily exercise. She retired at the age of 62 and enjoyed the Philadelphia museum circuit and the many wonderful friends she made in the Folcroft and Sharon Hill seniors clubs.
She punched breast cancer in the face in the early 2000s and then gave colon cancer the finger in 2014, leaving both her surgeon and GP stunned at the speed of her recovery. However, a recurrence of colon cancer was discovered in 2022, and surgery and chemotherapy were not recommended. She was a lifelong hardcore Philadelphia sports fan, and doctors have yet to determine whether this contributed to the recurrence.
She entered Chandler Hospice at the beginning of June, only becoming bedbound in the last two weeks of her stay, and often expressed gratitude for the compassionate and knowledgeable staff, who went above and beyond to make her stay as comfortable as possible. She passed with no pain and will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her. In lieu of flowers, her family requests that interested parties consider donations in her name to Operation Smile at https://www.operationsmile.org/
Family and friends are invited to attend Rosalie’s visitation on Saturday September 24th from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Cavanagh Family Funeral Home 301 Chester Pike, Norwood. A Prayer Service will immediately follow at 6:00 pm. Interment Private.