Erlene Francis Casternovia, 67, of Savannah, Georgia, died Tuesday, Nov. 9, at St. Joseph’s Hospital after a brief illness. Born on Oct. 1, 1954, in Springfield, N.J., to the late Dominick and Helen Casternovia, she moved to Savannah in 1998. Erlene worked in retail appliance sales for over 35 years, but especially enjoyed her most recent position at Two Men and A Truck.
An active member of Radiant Life Christian Fellowship for over 20 years, she helped with Christmas pageants even though she could not sing, and every Christmas season her Savannah home would be filled with countless homemade gingerbread cookies for the annual church fund-raiser. Thanks to her expertise in appliances, she built her dream kitchen, which she then used to generously bake amazing cheesecakes, host great Italian feasts for her Southern friends (especially whenever family and friends came south to visit), and she never turned away the chance to fellowship with others.
She had a penchant for fireworks and reveled in every bang and colorful burst; she had a wonderful sense of humor paired with a quick wit that often left family and friends gasping for air between the laughter and tears; she loved movies, especially comedies; she was blessed with wisdom well beyond her years and had a way of telling you what you needed to hear, even when it wasn’t what you wanted to hear; she was generous in her spirit, her time and her earthly resources; and she loved her “boys”—Mac, Jett and Bubba (even though they buried countless TV remotes and tennis shoes in the back yard) as well as her beloved parakeets, Boo and Chiquita.
But above all this, she loved her Lord. She served him with joy, and boldly told all who would listen about how He had changed her life. She undoubtedly reveled in hearing “Well-done, good and faithful servant” (which was most likely followed by an equally boisterous: “‘bout time you got here, Chop!”)
She was preceded in death by her parents, Dominick and Helen, and her brother-in-law, John DiCocco. She is survived by her brother, Eugene, and sister, Sally DiCocco; nieces, Dana Mahowald (Luke), Amanda Evey (Garth), and Rachael DiCocco; and nephew, Christopher DiCocco. She is also survived by countless friends whom she collected from each phase of her life and who loved her like family.
A memorial service is planned by the family at Radiant Life Christian Fellowship, 5619 Skidaway Road, Savannah, at a date to be determined.
A celebration of life is planned on Dec. 9 at Calvary Tabernacle, 69 Myrtle St., Cranford, N.J., 7 p.m. visitation, 7:30 p.m. service. Private interment will be held at Fairview Cemetery, 1100 E. Broad St., Westfield, N.J.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Erlene’s memory can be made to Gateway Pregnancy Center, P.O. Box 1793, Union, N.J. 07083.
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