THE matriarch of one of Scarborough’s most famous families has died at the age of 82.
Anna Jaconelli, widow of former mayor and ice cream supremo Peter Jaconelli, served as Scarborough mayoress in the early-1970s and was a much-loved figure in the town.
Born in August 1929 in a town called Isola Del Liri, an hour’s drive south of Rome, she was one of three children and endured a fairly harsh upbringing, with limited education in what was quite an impoverished area.
In the 1950s, following the Second World War, she came over to England, first to Leeds, to work with her future husband’s sister, Yolenda Jaconelli at a wafer manufacturers.
Anna moved to Scarborough and married Peter Jaconelli in 1960.
Her nephew Michael Jaconelli said: “She worked in Jaconelli’s cafe in Newborough, and was known to many local people for her bubbly, outgoing personality. Her English was not very good but she won people over with her warm personality.
“Before Tricolos opened she often used to make pizza. She was very popular for pasta and pizza.
“Her English was very heavily accented and there were no airs and graces about her. She was the people’s mayoress – a very popular mayoress.”
An Evening News article published during her year as mayoress in June 1971 captured her charm. It said: “She gets over the language handicap in her official capacity by keeping what she has to say to a minimum and limiting her welcomes and opening to a few phrases.
“It may sound complicated but to see the mayoress carrying out her work is practically a delight in itself. Far from being a barrier, her problem with the language seems to make everyone want to get to know her, and already she is proving very popular.”
Anna “took more of a backseat” when the family opened Tricolos restaurant in 1978 but was still involved in the business until it was sold and she retired to South Cliff.
Michael added: “After she had a number of strokes and her health diminished she moved into the Rambla nursing home and again endeared herself to the staff with her engaging smile.”
Requiem mass will be held at St Peter’s Church at 10am on Monday, followed by interment at Woodlands Cemetery.
Any donations in her memory are asked to be given to the Stroke Unit at Scarborough Hospital.
Anna’s husband Peter Jaconelli, who served on the council for nearly 30 years, died in May 1999.