On Wednesday, November 4, 2020, our family was devastated by the loss of our beloved matriarch and pillar of our family, Mrs. Joyce “Mamaw” Baker Paretti. Lovingly known as Mamaw, she was notable for her strength of spirit and fortitude. Mamaw spent the last several years facing various health challenges, most recently surviving COVID-19. While COVID-19 left her body fragile, her spirit remained strong. For 9 months, she valiantly fought to maintain her position as "the Boss" of the family. Her will was to fight, but her body succumbed and her spirit was freed. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas A. Paretti, Jr.; her parents, Rudolph Charles Baker, Jr. and Isabelle Clara Soulant; her siblings, Rudolph Baker, III, Delores Baker, Thomas Baker, Sr. and Alfred Baker; her son-in-law, James M. Litsey, Sr. Mamaw is survived by her children, Joyce Paretti Litsey, Thomas "Butch" Paretti, III and Arlene, Joseph "Joe" Paretti and Elizabeth, and her beloved cats Toonses, Mr. Minnie and Missy “Prissy”; her grandchildren, Jon Peltier and Elizabeth, Marc Peltier and Priscilla “Fasilla”, Vanessa Adams Sieracki and Mark, Daphne Litsey, James Litsey, Jr. and Angelique, Thomas "Manny" Paretti and Jenny, IV, Louis Paretti and Nicole, Gino Paretti and Sarah, Nico Paretti and Monica, Bridget Bivona Munch and Ricky, Diana Bivona, Melissa Bivona Boudreaux and Kevin, Victoria Paretti, and Everett Paretti, Erin Oswald & Scott; great grandchildren, Jessica Boyd Trahan and Dustin “Trustin”, Sydney Treme', Justin Treme', James Boyd, IV, Joshua Peltier, Nicholas Peltier, Maggie Wilson, Matthew Peltier, Mia Paretti, Zoe Kloss, Jon Peltier, Jr., Vanessa Peltier, Kristin Munch, Abigail Claffey, Dominic Sieracki, Thomas Paretti, V, Cecilia Paretti, Zadie Bivona, Isabel Munch, James "TJ" Litsey, Bennie Boudreaux, Samantha Litsey, Teddy Boudreaux, and Maria Paretti; her brothers, Henry Baker and Shirley, and John Baker, Sr. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and additional family. Joyce "Mamaw" Paretti was born on April 9, 1932 in New Orleans. She grew up and cared for her siblings in the grips of the Great Depression, after losing her mother at the age of 11. It was at this very young age that she began her lifelong role as a caregiver who never turned away anyone she could help. She met and married the love of her life, Tom Paretti, and raised their three children. In 1975, Joyce and Tom moved to St. Bernard Parish and built a business together. Not only did she devote tremendous effort to the building of their business but also selflessly gave her time to helping to raise many grandchildren and several foster children. Her boundless energy was always dedicated to anyone but herself. She was the "queen" of the kitchen, the "boss" of the family and inquisitor of ALL goings-on (in fact, interrogator may be a more appropriate word). Even her last words were yet another request for information. Literally, her last words were in the form of a question. After losing her home to hurricane Katrina, her life entered yet another era of overcoming adversity. This, all while helping all those she could. Joyce and Tom spent the last decade of their married life as residents of Kenner but always had a longing to return to their home in Arabi. Even after experiencing the struggle of losing her home at the age of 73, her capacity to be a caregiver had not yet been depleted as she now had to care for her ailing husband until his passing in 2014. The addition of great-grandchildren now redefined her life and of course, she welcomed them under her wing. Having new operatives in the field, the great-grandchildren were an invaluable source of information...information that she traded for delicious food. Her tactics blossomed and her intelligence operations flourished. As a family, we remain grateful that she never learned how to utilize drone technology. Our most treasured memories are of all of us gathered together, enjoying Mamaw's cuisine and her open-door policy. There was never a lack of laughter, life lessons, wisdom, 9th Ward pronunciations and the many accounts of her near-death experiences. We thank God Mamaw had such a strong and everlasting impact on us because even though she has passed, we will not be left with a great void in our lives. Her strength still cares for us even after she is gone. We love you Mamaw, we love you so, so much.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass at 1:30 PM on Saturday, November 14, 2020 in the J. Garic Schoen Chapel of JACOB SCHOEN & SON FUNERAL HOME, 3827 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119. Visitation will begin at 10:30 AM. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please practice social distancing and wear a mask.
Click here to view a webcast of the service on 11/14/2020 at 01:20 PM, Central Standard Time.
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