Wanda Ellen Cardillo (Merkel)
Died peacefully on February 13, 2021. She was 89 years old. Wanda is survived by her sons, Paul (Karen), David (Louise), Charles, Jr. and sisters Earlene and Ann, brothers Jerry and Bruce, 9 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased in death by her husband Charles, and her brothers Guy, Thomas, Lee, and Dennis, and her sisters Gail, Nancy and Una.
Born on October 26, 1931, Wanda was the third oldest of the Merkel Dozen—5 sisters and 6 brothers, daughter of Ruth and Earl Merkel. Wanda's love for her siblings was absolute and loyal. She spent hours on the phone with her sisters or teasing or joking with her brothers. Her large and remarkable family was the loving center of her world.
Wanda adored her husband, Chuck. They met when they were 16, and married at 19. When Chuck enlisted in the Army, he was stationed in Monterey, California. They drove across the country in an overheating Ford, Wanda pregnant with their first son, Paul. A year and a half later, they left their cottage on the Pacific coast and drove back to Rochester, Wanda pregnant with David. Wanda and Chuck were great dancers, they loved to garden together, and they spent most winter weekends skiing with their friends and family at their cabin near Swain ski center.
Wanda was good with numbers. For nearly thirty years, she worked as a payroll specialist at Rural Opportunities. She was a devoted Catholic, religious in both prayer and deed.
Family was everything to Wanda. She loved being a mother to her three sons and enjoyed a close and loving connection with them all throughout her life. Wanda was a devoted grandmother and great-grandma, spending many hours at soccer fields and swimming pools, or beaming proudly at dance recitals. She loved playing euchre with her grandchildren, and delighted in their stories and laughter and accomplishments.
Wanda was always ready to be delighted by what the world had to offer. Her beautiful zinnias, her delicate glass Christmas ornaments, the first snow, the ski cabin at Swain, owls and hummingbirds, family reunions, a boat ride on a Finger Lake, a call from a beloved sister. Wanda was generous, a person who wanted others to be at ease in her presence, who offered reassurance and exuded warmth. It was a lovely and gentle way to be.
Consistent throughout her life was Wanda's laugh. She laughed frequently, and distinctively—it will forever resonate in our hearts.
Private service and interment. The family is planning a mass and a celebration of her life in the Summer of 2021. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to Rochester Presbyterian Home, 256 Thurston Road, Rochester NY 14619-1544, where Wanda was cared for with dignity and compassion.