Marguerite Piazza, R.I.P.

Before Marguerite first called me for plumbing service in November of 2002, I had never heard of her. She identified herself as Marguerite Bergtholdt, which was her married name, and told me that she’d gotten my name from her daughter-in-law Veronica.

When I entered her home at 2813 Central Avenue, I just assumed that she was one more well-to-do lady like so many other customers I’ve served. She left me alone near the stairs while she finished tending to her bedridden husband, Harry. I began studying the trophies, plaques, posters, newspaper clippings, and photographs that covered the walls where I stood and slowly got an idea of who she was. When I acknowledged what I’d been looking at upon her return, she simply observed, “Well, I’ve lived a long life.”

The Marguerite I Knew

I became a regular visitor to Marguerite’s home, mostly for plumbing purposes. I was always amazed by the force of her personality and the liveliness of her mind. I spent many hours, all told, sitting at her table and talking, but mostly listening.

Harry died in ’03. The day of the funeral (March 18th), the kitchen sink stopped up. I was over there that morning to straighten it out. They all left for the funeral and I left a bill and locked up on the way out. I managed to get loose from my jobs long enough to attend the services at St. Louis Catholic Church.

Marguerite was gracious enough to come to my church a couple of times, and it was my privilege to chauffeur her and her daughter Shirley.

Many obituaries and testimonials will pour forth in the next few days to retell some part of the story of this amazing woman. My contribution is meager: she was kind to me and it was an honor to serve her for these ten years.