This story is part of Loved and Lost, a statewide media collaboration that works to celebrate the lives of every New Jersey resident who has died of COVID-19. To learn more and submit a loved one’s name for profiling, visit loveandlostnj.com.
The backyard of Carol Ann Siano’s home in Saddle Brook is a landscape of blossoming beauty, where lilies, lilacs, daffodils and pansies spring up in a beautiful bouquet of color each year as the weather warms. .
In the front yard are lush azaleas, hydrangeas and rhododendrons, a riot of colors and scents.
This is the area where Carol spent many days planting seeds, weeding, pruning, watering, and nurturing plants that developed into a landscape of bright flowers that caught the admiring glances of neighbors and residents alike. passers-by.
In winter, Carol enjoyed her African violets which grew in pots around the house.
But for the rest of the year, she tended to the horticulture surrounding Saddle Brook’s home where she grew up and raised her children.
When the leaves turned green and the buds began to open on the trees and plants, she turned to her ceramic pots and carefully planted the annuals: begonias, impatiens, and liveforevers.
“She always took care of her flowers. She loved going out and watering them every day,” said her daughter, Nicole Bibber, a chef and mother of two teenage girls.
When Nicole and her older brother Jimmy were young, they would help their mother with plants. But when Nicole had her own children, it became their job to help Grandma. It was a task that both girls loved.
Carol was an elementary school teacher at St. Philip the Apostle at Saddle Brook and at St. Anne’s at Fair Lawn. She nurtured her students as lovingly as if they were her plants, instructing them in the intricacies of algebraic equations that she was able to simplify into terms that the students could easily understand. And they have flourished under his care as strong, independent students.
Years ago, while in the hospital, a nurse walked in and exclaimed happily, âMrs. S!
âShe had been the woman’s fourth-grade teacher,â Nicole recalls. The two women remembered fondly.
âShe loved her students. She always talked about them,â Nicole said. The students, in turn, raved about their teacher. “They always said she prepared them so well.”
It’s no surprise to her family that she’s received accolades in Who’s Who Among American Teachers and other awards over the years.
She was born and raised in Saddle Brook and was part of the first graduating class of Saddle Brook High School.
In 1968, Carol Kuncer married Anthony Siano, whom she met because her family owned the gas station where Anthony worked and Carol often brought her car for gas. He fell in love and asked her on a date. And then another.
The couple raised their children in Saddle Brook and spent their lives there. Anthony passed away in 2011 and three years later Nicole, her husband and their two children returned to the house to be with Carol.
“She always said, ‘Enjoy the little things in life. Be happy,'” recalls her son, Jimmy, a UPS employee. It was a motto his mother respected. In addition to gardening and teaching, she enjoyed cooking, baking, antiquing and spending time with her granddaughters.
She died on Easter Sunday 2020 at the age of 76.
That day started out gloomy and overcast, but turned hot and bright.
Maybe it was a perfect day to plant.
Deena Yellin covers religion for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to his work covering how the spiritual intersects with our daily lives, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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