Mary Jean (Zitola) Laratonda, 96, Worked in Haverhill Shoe Shops

Mary Jean (Zitola) Laratonda, 96, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, Jan. 22 surrounded by her loving family.

She was born in Haverhill on March 15, 1921, to the late Michele and Anna Zitola. Laratonda attended Haverhill Public Schools, where she proudly received a double grade promotion, before working in the Haverhill shoe shops.

She was born inside the home her father had built and resided at that house until her passing. Widowed at the young age of 51, Laratonda was a strong and resourceful woman. Her independence was admirable and she loved nothing more than to spend time with her family and friends. She cherished her time gardening, playing cards and working crossword puzzles and enjoyed summers at the beach and winters in Florida. Laratonda was a talented seamstress and known widely for her beautiful knitting and crocheting work. She was an avid sports fan, especially of the Red Sox, Patriots and Notre Dame football teams. She was a fixture on Friday afternoons at Eurada and Ted’s Beauty Salon in Haverhill, where she was known for her quick wit and sense of humor for over 40 years. She was a member of Sacred Hearts Parish.

Predeceased by her beloved husband Daniel Laratonda and late brother Joseph Zitola, Laratonda was the proud mother of Donna and her husband Robert Graham of Methuen and Susan and her husband Edward Skolski of Bradford. She is survived by grandchildren Debra Graham, Laurie Graham and her husband Francis Saenz, granddaughter-in-law Laurie Graham, Michelle Graham and her husband Stephen Graves, Daniel Skolski and his wife Lorie, Danielle Skolski and her husband Kenneth Cavallaro, and Louise Bannister; great grandchildren Heather Skolski, Courtney and Cody Graham, Arianna and Miabella Cavallaro, Emily and Jordyn Graves; and great-great grandson Henry Skolski as well as several cherished nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a grandson, Daniel Graham.

The family wishes to express its gratitude for the excellent care from Laratonda’s physician, Dr. Kay Ficht of Newburyport, which allowed her to remain in the home she loved.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend her calling hours on Thursday, Jan. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the H.L. Farmer & Sons Bradford Funeral Home, 210 South Main St., Bradford. Her Funeral will be held Friday morning, Jan. 26, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Funeral Home followed by a Funeral Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Sacred Hearts Church, Bradford. Burial will be in St. Patrick’s Cemetery, Haverhill. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to The Jimmy Fund, 10 Brookline Place, Brookline, MA 02445.