Estelle Marie Onesi | Obituary

It is with great sadness that the family of Marie Onesi announces her passing on Monday, February 28, 2022 at home under the care of Hospice.
A Niagara Falls native, she spent her whole life here. Growing up, Marie’s older brothers referred to Marie and her sister Marilyn as “The Queens” and were very protective of them. When she was 16 years old, the two older brothers met them at Niagara Falls High School because a telegram had arrived saying their youngest brother, Gene, was missing in action.
Marie likes to say she served the war effort in her own way. Many local boys who went off to war carried her beautiful photo. Each with the promise that she would wait for him. Although she treasured all those friendships, we are so lucky she met our father.
Marie met Sy Onesi in October 1945 when he came home from WWII to get his job back at Ramapo Ajax. Marie was working at the front desk. She tells the story that everyone in the shop saw sparks and not just coming from the grinding machines. They were engaged six months later and married on September 7, 1946. It was a double wedding shared with her sister Marilyn. Marie and Sy shared 56 years together until his passing in 2002.
As young parents, for six months Marie and Sy treasured and cared for their first child, Kathleen, who was born with Spina Bifida. They then raised three children on 18th Street. Visitors were always welcome and the coffee pot was on from early morning to evening. Long after the kids were raised and grandchildren were arriving, they moved to a large home in Wheatfield. There they created another warm and welcoming home and hosted many extended family celebrations. After Sy passed away, the house was too big. It was comforting to her when Jim and Mary Palumbo bought the house and continued her tradition of welcoming friends and family.
Over the years, Marie wrote many letters and emails to not only stay in touch with family and also friends she made at many different times in her life. She was emphatic about remembering people’s special occasions and always had cards ready to mail for birthdays, anniversaries, and other special days. Even while under Hospice care, she kept her calendar and note paper by her side. She used email and Facebook, but still wrote handwritten letters.
Many of us looked forward every March for her daily Irish blessing email.
Marie was a homemaker who lived a long, rich, and family-centered life. Still telling stories and making us laugh, she remained mentally sharp until her death. She touched so many people in her journey through life.
While we mourn our loss, we celebrate her life well lived and cherish each and every memory. Tales of this special woman will be filled with joy and laughter. She was always the life of the party and her laugh won’t be forgotten.
Her memory will be cherished by two daughters, Cheryl (Robert) Johnson and Patricia (Thomas) Bateson; and son, Robert Onesi. She was the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren, Melissa Sutherland, Jeremy (Jane) Schmitz, Rachael (Matthew) Grabek, Kathleen Hickey (Boyd Dusharm), Jillian Onesi, Dana (Kent) Hurlbert, Valerie Onesi; ten great-grandchildren, Hunter and Emily Sutherland, Sophia Schmitz, Gabrielle and Natalie Grabek, Molly Pakosigan, Lani Jane Frank, Avalyn, Caleb, Josh and Matthew Hurlbert, and Jayden Onesi. Also survived by many nieces and nephews, with special affection for Karen Gaertner Palumbo, her first niece who brought joy to a household saddened by war and the death of Gene Gaertner. She is also survived by her special friends, Grace McCoulf and Patricia Ellis.
Marie was predeceased by her husband, Sylvester Onesi; and infant daughter, Kathleen Onesi. In addition, she was predeceased by parents, Estelle (Graham) and Michael Gaertner; and siblings, John Gaertner. William Gaertner, Eugene Gaertner, and Marilyn Lombardo.
Visitation will be on Thursday, March 3 from 3-7 PM at M.J. COLUCCI & SON NIAGARA FUNERAL CHAPEL, 2730 Military Road, Niagara Falls, NY, where funeral services will begin Friday at 9:45 AM, followed by Marie’s Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 AM in St. Joseph’s Church, 1413 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY. Interment in Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
Memorial offerings may be made to Niagara Hospice, 4675 Sunset Drive, Lockport, NY 14094. Visit for online condolences.

Published on March 1, 2022