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Longtime Westfield Resident, Brass Shop Owner Passes Away

WESTFIELD, NJ — Margaret E. Giannone, who grew up in Westfield and owned The Brass Shop there for several decades, passed away peacefully on Jan. 9 at 79. She was predeceased by her husband, a Madison man, but always remained a “Daughter of Westfield,” according to her family.

Giannone grew up on the south side of town. She attended Columbus Elementary School and graduated Westfield High School in 1958. She was in one of the last classes to attend high school at the Elm Street location, according to her obituary.

Her obituary notes:

A huge fan of Little Richard and Elvis Presley, her high school yearbook aptly described her as being a “rock n’ roll fan.” One of her favorite places to hang out with friends during those years was the “car hop” on Route 22 in Union. It was there that she met Frank Giannone from Madison.

Their first official date was a Jerry Lee Lewis concert in Brooklyn where Lewis set his piano on fire. They shared a common love of music and always enjoyed dancing together. They married in 1960.

After attending business school, she set her sights on raising her three children: Elizabeth, Frank, and Jane. However, Margaret knew she was more than a housewife. Her father, Evan Tudor (E.T.) Williams, was an entrepreneur and inventor who had instilled in her a strong work ethic and business acumen. She worked side by side with her father for many years in their family business before opening her own business, the Brass Shop in Westfield, in the 1970s. She would spend the next few decades operating the store, at first with her husband, Frank Sr., and later with her son, Frank Jr.

All the while, she served as an example of what women could accomplish in business. She was a trailblazer who was able to balance her work with her home life. Often, she would blur the lines between the two. Her loyal, kind customers and tenants were always treated as family and always will be.

Margaret was quietly faithful. She was never loud or brash. Margaret loved words and old sayings. She even dabbled in poetry from time to time.

She wrote “Life’s Waterfall”:

Life’s waterfall of bounty comes tumbling down

Down to the tributes of barren land.

To nourish and grow as a child at its birth

Beneath the soil brings a bud to the earth.

As life begins from barren land, so it must end

As the dust and the sand.

This bud will grow to a life-giving thing, only

To die as it once began.

Somewhere, somehow, its life will regain,

this time strengthened by life’s bitter pains.

Somewhere life’s waterfall will once again appear,

To nourish the ground where this bud will not fear.

This time stronger and hardened, its life will take root,

To bud into beauty of life’s greatest loot.

She now rejoins her dance partner and beloved husband in the hereafter.

Margaret will be deeply missed by all her children, including her daughter Elizabeth (Betty Ann), her husband Neal, and their three children, John, Carl, and Catherine. She will forever be in the heart of her beloved son, Frank. Margaret will continue to serve as a spiritual light to her daughter Jane, her husband John, and their children, Joseph and Peter.

She will be very much missed by her many nieces and nephews and her long-time friends of 45 plus years, Aggie Kurzweil of Cranford and Antoinette Graham of Westfield.

Visitation will be held at Dooley Colonial Funeral Home, 556 Westfield Avenue, Westfield, NJ on Tuesday, Jan. 14 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Mass of Christian burial will take place at St. Helen’s Church, Westfield, NJ on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. (held in the Parish Center) followed by interment at Fairview Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Margaret‘s name can be made to St. Jude Children‘s Research Hospital.