Brenda Moscarella of Valhalla, New York passed away on Monday, June 1, 2020 in Croton-on-Hudson, New York in her 81st year. She was born to proud parents Alfred and Margaret Moscarella (nee Duncan) on April 5, 1939 in Spring Valley, New York.
My beloved Mother, Brenda Moscarella, passed away from advanced dementia
on June 1st, 2020.
Brenda was born and raised in Spring Valley, NY. Her parents were Margaret
Duncan, a housewife, and Alfred Moscarella, a noted surgeon at Suffern's Good
Samaritan Hospital. From a very young age she studied piano, and at 12, worked for
several years with one of the worlds very best as her teacher, Claudio Arrau. Raised
Catholic, she graduated high school with the highest of honors, from the Holy Child
School in Rockland County, NY. After a year or so at Oberlin Conservatory of Music,
she left school for New York City to pursue acting and a rather bohemian lifestyle,
somewhat rebelling against her strict catholic upbringing.
While working as a waitress in a cafe in Greenwich village around 1959, she was
introduced by my late cousin, the actor David Margulies, to my father, Paul Resika, a
painter. They were married in 1960 and lived in his apartment and art studio at 3
Washington Square North. She gave birth to me in October of that year. They divorced
about 4 years later and she lived in the East Village with me for a year, before taking her
first trip to her beloved adopted country of Greece (leaving me with my Dad). After
returning, she and I lived, between 1966 and 1971, in New City, NY ( with my
Grandparents) and then Monsey, NY. At this time she worked several jobs, notably as a
piano teacher and as a bank teller with her soon to be famous co-worker, Lily Tomlin. In
1971 she fell in love with a Greek man as well as Greece, and moved to Mykonos , one
of the most beautiful places in the World. I visited her there every summer as a pre teen
and young teen. She broke up with the man but stayed on the island she loved for a
total of about 7 years. Working in translation, writing, photography, and giving small
private concerts. She notably also worked as an editor for the Athens Daily Post (an
English language daily) as well as the Hellenic Broadcast Corporation. She returned to
New York City in the late 70’s and early 80’s and worked in charity and good will for the
religious organization, Covenant House; helping drug addicts and wayward youth get
back on the right track, serving as an executive director. She then traveled to a
succession of places, including, among others, Cambridge, MA, and Portland, Maine;
helping others through the church mostly, wherever she was based. She lived as far
away as Anchorage and even the Aleutian Islands, as both a pastoral administrator and
a newscaster on Alaskan television. In the 90’s she moved to Taos, New Mexico, where
her brother Alfred lives, in order to care for her ailing mother, until her passing after
several years. After that she continued to travel, to Greece again, to Maine, then back to
New Mexico. When my children were born in 2006, she relocated to New York's
Washington Heights, so as to be around her grandchildren (who meant everything to
her), where she helped us greatly. After developing advanced dementia she spent her
last 2 and 1/2 years at Sky View Rehabilitation Center in Croton-on-Hudson, NY, a
lovely home with grand views of the Hudson river, where we visited her often and which
she liked very much.
I thank my mother for so, so much. As a child, I remember hearing her play:
Bach's Italian concerto and English Suites as well as the renowned Goldberg
variations, Chopin (whom I, of course as a 6 year old, called CHOP- IN), and Debussy
(Golliwog's Cakewalk was my favorite!). I was ecstatic when she started playing
numerous Scott Joplin Rags. She introduced me to 16 speed records of Karloff and
Rathbone reading Kipling and Poe. Those summers in Greece were a magical time.
They made me into a bit of a loner (just a couple of friends), but I really learned how to
work on my guitar practicing, and became a voracious reader and music listener during
those lonely hours. The swimming was amazing and spoiled me for anywhere else.
The food was indescribably fantastic. The Greek culture was so out and open, with their
altered rhythm filled, heartfelt music, and the men dancing with handkerchiefs. She had
many friends, from tough hardened sailors and sponge fisherman, to lots of gay writers,
artists, astrologists, and hedonists; whom she entertained without any negative
judgements. I wouldn't have changed it for the world!
I remember at age 4 or 5, falling into my grandparents pool and seeing bubbles
fly up as I dropped further and further down. I was quickly rescued by her jumping in
and saving my life.
She nurtured my love for horror movies and monsters in general. Helping me to
acquire and paint my models of creature from the black lagoon, Frankenstein, Dracula,
the Wolfman, etc., and one Halloween, we got real bandages from Grandaddy's hospital
and she wrapped me from head to toe in the most authentic mummy costume you ever
As an adult, I became seriously ill once in Boston, in the early 90s, losing 25
pounds and she stayed with me and took care of me and nursed me back to health.
Later in her life, when I began singing operas, she would attend as many
performances as I gave, even multiple shows of the same opera. We eventually
performed together for family and friends up to near the end.
Last year, when her fingers could barely move, we attempted “O Isis und Osiris”
by Mozart, at her residence and received applause even then.
Though she couldn't remember what I'd told her even a minute before, if I sang
the right tune, or mentioned a fact, it would unlock memories and she could still teach
me things I didn't know; at one point actually helping me prepare for an important
Thanks Mom, for helping to instill in me a deep love of music, religion,
tolerance, food, and life in general.
She leaves behind her brother Alfred Moscarella (and his former wife Linda, my
aunt/and his current wife Joanne), her niece and nephew, Raphael and Rachel
Moscarella, all of Taos, NM, as well as her only son, Nathan Resika, his wife Judit, and
Brenda's grandchildren, Fabian and Flora; all of Valhalla, NY.
I was able to spend her last communicative hours with her at her bedside.
lovely open casket memorial was held at Pleasant Manor Funeral Home in Thornwood,
New York on June 5th, 2020; where family members recounted memories of her, as her
favorite recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, by Glen Gould, was played.
She will be laid to rest next to her parents at St. Anthony's Cemetery in Nanuet, NY.
Rest in Peace, MOM. I wished you'd lived longer than just 81 years, but you had a very
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