Sophie Patricia Riggio (née Hudson) died at 4:10 a.m. on Monday, July 2, 2018, at Seasons Hospice in North Shore Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. After 94 years of robust health, she succumbed to a series of infections, common in the elderly.
Sophie was born to Ukrainian immigrants, Ana and George Hudson in North Philadelphia, on New Year’s Day 1924. She was one of six children, all of whom are now deceased: Mary Albano, Charles Hudson, John Hudson, Helen Herion and Ana Griess.
After graduating from high school, Sophie moved to Center City, Philadelphia and joined Bell Telephone as a PBX operator. Her “the boss is always right” mentality and relentless work ethic paved her way into management.
In 1965, she married the one and only true love of her life, Rocco C. “Jimmy” Riggio of South Philadelphia. They made their home in Pennsauken, New Jersey with Jimmy’s three children Jim Riggio, Bill Riggio and Carol Riggio (now Nash). In 1965, Sophie and Jimmy had a son, Rocco Riggio.
After 19 years at Bell Telephone, one year shy of a pension, Sophie quit to raise her only child.
When her son was older, she took a job as a school crossing guard in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey. She retired after 28 years.
After lovingly caring for her ailing husband, who died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease in 2001, Sophie moved to the newly-constructed Chestnut Station Apartments in the quaint community of Merchantville, New Jersey. Not one to sit still, at 80 years old, she became a volunteer teacher’s aide at Merchantville Elementary School. She thoroughly enjoyed working with pre-K, first and second grade students on honing their reading skills. She also volunteered at the Merchantville public library during the summers. She was a fixture at both institutions for nearly a decade. Each time Sophie walked on Centre Street, she was greeted with “Hi, Grandma Sophie,” from the many students and faculty that she had helped. She worked and drove up to the age of 90.
At 91 years old, she left the Delaware Valley for the first time and moved to Century Village in Pembroke Pines, Florida. She spent nearly three high-quality years with her son Rocco, daughter-in-law, Jessica (née Baldo) and her beloved grandchildren, Rocco (10) and Massimo (8) who live in nearby Miami Shores. She is also survived by her late husband’s grandchildren, Billy Riggio, Ryan Tomaszewicz and Nicole Riggio.
Sophie was a testament to clean living. An avid walker, she dabbled in senior yoga and generally loved to challenge herself physically. When ice covered the sidewalks in Merchantville, she did repeats in the stairwell, much to her neighbor’s astonishment. She was a mall walker at the Cherry Hill Mall for nearly two decades.
In addition to walking, she loved novels, word find puzzles, vanilla ice cream, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy and Dancing with the Stars, especially Derek Hough.
Her viewing will be held Friday, July 6th from 10 to 11 am at Mary, Queen of All Saints Parish, 4824 Camden Avenue, Pennsauken. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 am. Interment in Arlington Cemetery, Pennsauken. If you can’t make it to her services, you can honor Sophie by taking a walk, today. For condolences please visit www.gaskillbrown.com
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