Obituary of Maura Holly
Maura passed away peacefully on October 19, 2018. She was Italian by birth, American by marriage and citizenship, and lived life to the fullest with determination and courage. She will be deeply missed.
Maura was born in Santa Maria a Monte, Italy on December 29, 1922 to Teresa Fontana and Arturo Meucci. At a young age, she moved with her family to Alexandria, Egypt. There she attended a British school and studied English, French and Arabic, along with music and piano. She returned to Italy in 1940 with her sister Vera and brother Renzo as World War II was advancing to North Africa. Unfortunately, as the war changed course, Maura and her siblings were trapped in Italy until the end of the war in 1945.
Maura was very enterprising. Putting her language skills to good use, she got a job with the Allied Forces as a translator and met Raymond Holly, an American officer. They were married in Egypt in 1946, the year after the war ended and they moved to Adrian, Oregon where they owned a movie theatre. Daughter Sylvia was born in 1947 and Olivia in 1951. Ray and Maura moved to New York in 1954. Maura often remarked those to be very happy days for her as there were many Italians in New York City and she could easily take a ship home to visit her parents and siblings. They also lived in Nyssa, Oregon and Monica was born there in 1958.
The family moved to Boise in 1961 and Maura, an accomplished pianist, began teaching private lessons. She attended Boise State University and achieved a Bachelors Degree in Music in 1972, performing her senior recital under the tutelage of Adelaide Marshall. She also furthered her piano studies with Del Parkinson. Maura loved the piano and enjoyed teaching it to children and adults. She taught piano lessons until the summer of 2018 and had hundreds of students over the years. She was well respected in her profession and a long time member of the Boise Piano Teachers Guild. She also taught Italian at Boise State University and privately in her home. She served as a translator for an Italian wine maker, and took many tour groups to Europe. She founded the Italian American Club of Boise and held season tickets to the Boise Philharmonic for the last thirty years. She loved to entertain guests in her home, enjoyed dancing and shopping.
After Ray retired, they traveled extensively around the world and enjoyed many adventures. Ray died in 1996 shortly after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Maura continued teaching piano and Italian and felt it gave her solace in the years following his death. She continued to travel to Italy to visit her family, enjoying summers at the family home in Staffoli.
In 2004 she married Phil Sansotta, an old family friend. They too traveled to many countries that Phil had never been to, and had many good times together. Phil died in 2017.
Maura was a mother of three girls, a grandmother to four children, and great grandmother to four more children. She loved her family and was considered the matriarch. She lived a long and amazing life—living on three continents, speaking multiple languages and traveling the world. She saw many concerts, operas and performances and was truly passionate about classical music. One of her favorite stories was an encounter in Milan with Placido Domingo. She saw him and ran two blocks to catch him for an autograph. Maura was witty and articulate and loved telling stories. She was at ease being the center of attention. Eternally optimistic, she spoke in recent days of regaining her driver’s license and traveling more, perhaps taking a cruise to Ireland or a trip to China.
She is survived by her daughters, Sylvia Wirth (Don) of Eagle, Olivia Holly (Christian) of Boise and Monica Holly (Stefano) of Cisano Bergamasco, Italy; four grandchildren, Amy Holly, James Holly, Gabe Tutone (Braidee) and Michaela Tutone; and four great-grandchildren, Aidan, Logan, Madison and Ryan. She is also survived by her sisters, Vera Falanga of Caracas, Venezuela and Liliana Gelato of Pisa, Italy, as well as her nieces and nephews, Gianpiero, Paola, Daniela and Rossella and numerous great nieces, nephews and cousins. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Ray, her brother Renzo Meucci of Staffoli, Pisa and her second husband Phil Sansotta. She was also close to all of Phil’s eight children and their spouses.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary’s Church on Thursday, October 25, 2018, at 11am followed by internment at Morris Hill Cemetery. There will be a reception at the Cottonwood Grille from 2- 5 pm after the services.
Memorials are suggested to the St. Mary’s Food Bank at 3890 W. State Street, Boise, ID 83703.