Angelina Conti of Conti Jewelers Dies at 98

IndependentsMar 29, 2024

Angelina Conti of Conti Jewelers Dies at 98

She is remembered by loved ones as a “guiding force” behind the store and an active presence in her community.

Angelina Conti of Conti Jewelers
Angelina Conti of Conti Jewelers in Endwell, New York, died at the age of 98 on March 23.
Endwell, N.Y.—Angelina Conti, former co-manager of Conti Jewelers in Endwell, New York, died at the age of 98 on March 23.

Conti was born to Giacinta Santucci and Anthony Ciotoli in December 1925 and was the second oldest of four siblings.

In her school years, she was a “bright student” who faced life’s challenges head on, according to her online obituary.

In 1947, she married Albert Conti, and they had five children, Tom, Ellen, Paul, Billy, and Evonne.

In 1958, the family moved to Owego, New York, where Conti took an active role in the community, joining the Sunset Garden Club and the congregation of St. Patrick’s Church, as well as attending her children’s school functions.

She once led a stamp drive fundraiser, collecting stamps to raise enough money to buy a car for the nuns at St. Patrick’s.

In 1972, she co-managed Conti Jewelers with her husband, Albert, and later, her daughter Ellen, and was also a persistent salesperson.

“She was the guiding force behind the store’s aesthetic, both its inventory and exquisite decor,” according to her obituary.

Ellen Conti recalled her mother’s contributions to the family business.

“My dad was a fabulous businessman, but my mother was the one who chose the inventory and decorated the store. She just had an uncanny ability to put things together,” she said.

“She just had that fashion sense, and she loved the industry. She loved everything about it.”

Her mother, she said, enjoyed reading the industry’s jewelry publications and fashion magazines, like WWD.

“She read every jewelry magazine that came across her desk. She was always keeping on top of trends and made really good buying decisions for the store,” she said.

Conti had been a fashionista for as long as she could remember, her daughter said.

“She told me years ago about when she got her first paycheck. She worked at a grocery store right out of high school. Her first paycheck was $18, and she went and bought a pair of I. Miller shoes and she had to put them on layaway,” she said.

In her later years, Conti moved into an assisted living facility, but her love of fashion remained.

“People would always say to me, ‘Your mother always looks so beautiful!’ She always had her jewelry on. She always had her dresses. She never wore slacks. I've never seen her in a pair of pants,” said Ellen.

Conti oversaw the store’s renovation in 1992 and its relocation from Owego to nearby Endwell in 2004, remaining an active presence in the business until her daughter, Ellen, sold it in 2016 upon her retirement.

Conti was still attending trade shows at 88, her daughter said.

She was remembered as “an extraordinary homemaker” and a talented golfer and bridge player. She enjoyed spending her winters in Italy and Orlando, Florida.

She is survived by four of her children and their spouses, as well as her many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her son Billy, who died of leukemia as a teenager in 1974, and her husband, who died in 1989.

A funeral mass will be held on April 2 at the Church of the Holy Family in Endwell followed by a burial in St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Owego.

Contributions in her memory can be made to St. Francis Ministry, by way of Sister Anisia of St. Anthony of Padua Church, or to Tioga Country Rural Ministry.

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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