Date of Passing

Luisa M. DeLauro (Canestri), 103, of New Haven, CT died peacefully on Saturday, September 9, 2017 surrounded by loving family. She was the beloved wife of the late Theodore "Ted" DeLauro and mother of U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-3). Luisa was born December 24, 1913 in New Haven, CT, the third child and one of six children of Cesare and Luisa Canestri. Her siblings are all predeceased: Carmela Canestri, Raffaela Amato, Mary Violano, Louis Canestri, and Caesar Canestri. She spent most of her childhood in her mother's pastry shop, Canestri's, now the site of Consiglio's Restaurant, and worked there as a young woman. She also worked in the sweatshops that existed in the city at that time, sewing collars to shirts, gaining a powerful and unforgettable understanding of the challenges facing working people and the importance of education. Luisa married Ted DeLauro in 1938. The DeLauro's helped their Wooster Square neighbors, most Italian immigrants, to overcome language and other barriers to successfully navigate the complexities of American life. Ted, who was fondly known as the "Mayor of Wooster Square," served on the Board of Alderman. Luisa followed him as an Alder and served for 35 years, from 1965 – 2000, becoming the longest-serving member of the Board. Luisa dedicated her life to the neighborhood she called home and the people who lived there. As a member of the Board of Alderman, Mrs. DeLauro was known and loved as a tireless and tenacious advocate, dedicating her time to issues involving seniors, the working poor, and Wooster Square. While serving as vice-chairman of the New Haven Historic District Study Commission, she was instrumental in designating Wooster Square as New Haven's first Historic District. She was also one of the founders of the neighborhood's annual Cherry Blossom Festival. The DeLauro Family Table, a sculpture installed in Wooster Square Park in 2011, recognizes the contribution of the DeLauro's to New Haven, in a reference to the kitchen table in Wooster Square where Ted and Luisa helped their neighbors solve problems with Social Security, Medicare, housing, immigration, citizenship and employment. In 1933, writing in a Democratic Party Newsletter, Mrs. DeLauro demonstrated a prescient awareness of what was possible and would be realized years later: "We are not living in the Middle Ages when a woman's position was merely to serve a master in a home, " Mrs. DeLauro wrote. "Come on, girls: Let's make ourselves heard." Luisa is survived by her loving daughter, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro and son-in-law Stanley Greenberg both of New Haven, CT; grandchildren Kathryn (Ari Zentner) Greenberg of Washington, DC, Anna (Dana Milbank) Greenberg of Washington, DC, Jonathan (Justine Gardner) Greenberg of Brooklyn, NY; great grandchildren Rigby Maya Zentner, Teo Isaac Zentner, Sadie Liberty Delicath, Jasper Samuel Delicath, Paola Catherine Milbank, Augustus Burleigh Greenberg; nieces and nephews Gabriel (Louise) Amato, Caesar (Shirley) Violano, Jerry (Marion) Violano, Marie (Richard) Bayer, Caesar ( Donna) Canestri, Valerie (late James) Canestri, Louis (DeDe) Canestri, late Joseph Canestri, Paul (Denise) Canestri, Louisa (fiancé, Bill Howard) Canestri, Gabriel Canestri, Ann (Kent) Canestri. Robert (Diane) DeLauro, Kathleen (Jay) DeLauro Kargula, and Gregory (Cheryl) DeLauro. The family is especially grateful for the loving care provided to Luisa over many years by Phyllis Ollison, Sheila Manley, Penny Langley, Abena Yeboah, Mary Cousar, and Deborah Moye. Our thanks also to the doctors and nurses at Yale New Haven Hospital and Dr. Stephen Possick and Cardiology Associates and Dr. Stephen Brenner. Luisa's Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 16, 2017 at St. Michael's Church, 29 Wooster Place, New Haven. Relatives and friends may call Friday, September 15, 2017 from 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the IOVANNE FUNERAL HOME, INC. at 11 Wooster Place, New Haven. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations in Luisa's memory be made to Connecticut Hospice, 100 Double Beach Rd., Branford, CT 06405. We want to express our gratitude toward Rosemary Hurzeler and all the doctors and caregivers at Connecticut Hospice where Luisa was so well cared for in her final days. Share a memory and sign Luisa's guest book online at