Orlando Catholic Community Leader Mary Jo (Santangelo) Nocero, age 67, a beloved wife, mother, and grandmother, passed away on April 12, 2011 after a courageous battle against breast cancer. Mary Jo was a leader of the Orlando Catholic community for more than forty years. Born on September 27, 1943, she was the daughter of Congressman Alfred E. and Betty L. Santangelo of New York, New York. Mary Jo was married for 45 years to Dr. Michael Nocero, a Cardiologist and Senior Partner at the Central Florida Cardiology Group. She is survived by her three daughters, Dr. Mary Scanlon and husband Tim of Coral Springs, FL; Margaret Nocero Simone and husband Frank of Miami, FL; and Aimee Nocero Lewis and husband Rodney of Altamonte Springs, FL. She was “Grammie” to her five grandchildren, Patrick and Ryan Scanlon, Michael and Ava Simone, and Hunter Lewis. She was the loving sister to her four younger siblings, Eileen Hult (husband, Gene), Betty J. Santangelo (husband, Tom Egan), Patricia Santangelo and Charles Santangelo (wife, Kathy). She is survived by her sister-in-law, Lori Mazzola and eight nieces and nephews.
Mary Jo graduated in 1965 with a BA from the College of New Rochelle. While in college, she started a day camp with Monsignor Frank Oliverio of St. Lucy’s Parish which continued to serve the Catholic youth community for nearly 20 years. Mary Jo received an M.A. in Social Studies from Hunter College in 1968 and an M.A. in Religious Education from Loyola University in 1992. She was the Marriage Education Coordinator for St. Mary Magdalen Church in Altamonte Springs, educating and counseling newly engaged couples, as well as organizing the Family Life Ministry. Mary Jo was a lector and started the “Christ Renews” Retreats in the parish. She and her husband Michael were inspirational leaders of Marriage Encounter, sharing their experiences with hundreds of married couples seeking to improve their lives and relationships through better communication.
In 1990, Mary Jo was awarded the Ursula Laurus Citation for distinguished service to the community by the College of New Rochelle. In 2009, Mary Jo and Michael received the Ecclesiastic Honor of the Order of St. Mary Magdalen for extraordinary contributions to their parish. Mary Jo also received the prestigious Jefferson Award which recognizes individuals who have inspired others and made a difference in their community.
Along with her passion for helping people, Mary Jo had a love for her Shetland Sheepdogs, of which she had 10 in her lifetime. Mary Jo’s favorite saying was, “Live Well. Laugh Often. Love Much.” She will be greatly missed.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 4 p.m. at St. Mary Magdalen Church, 861 Maitland Avenue, Altamonte Springs, FL. This will be followed directly by a “Celebration of her Life” in the Parish hall. In lieu of flowers, the Nocero family has requested donations be given to the charitable fund Food for the Poor which Mary Jo strongly supported.
Mike and Mary Jo Nocero