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Mary Lou Massara, 71, Alfred Station

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♥♥ Not how did she die, but how did she live? ♥♥

♥♥ Not what did she gain, but what did she give? ♥♥

♥♥ These are true units that measure the worth of any human being. ♥♥

On March 5, 2023, the heavens gained yet another angel, far before her time. Mary Lou Massara, nee DeBacco, age 71, passed away peacefully on Sunday after battling a rare form of dementia, FTD.

Born in Geneva, NY in 1951 to a feisty Italian immigrant and his sweet loving wife, she was the youngest of six. Predeceased by her parents William and Antoinette DeBacco, three brothers; Carmen, Billy, and Ronnie, sister Vivian (and surviving brother, Deno DeBacco). Mary Lou graduated from Geneva High in June of 1970.

In the fall of 1970 she met the love of her life, Tom Massara. The first day of her freshman year at Alfred State College, Mary Lou caught his eye and he insisted on helping to move her into the dorm. She wouldn’t give him the time of day but her mom and aunt persuaded her to give him a second look. Not long after, he drove her home for Thanksgiving break, met her family, and the rest was history.

Together they built a family in the town where they met Alfred NY, and had three daughters, Danielle (Jose) Mora, Nicole (Patrick) Cregan, and Michelle Massara.  The house was always full of friends from all walks of life, warm and welcoming, Mary Lou loved without judgment. She was an adoring Grandma (Amma) to four beautiful grandbabies, Samuel Mora, Eloise Mora, Jack Cregan, and Beatrice Cregan. Tom and Mary Lou celebrated 50 years of marriage on July 1, 2022.

She cared for an array of people throughout her life and over her years as an RN. Graduating from Alfred State college, she started her nursing career at Bethesda as a charge nurse, and ended her career as a beloved student health care nurse on the Alfred State campus. A true caretaker for all, she took in many students that needed her maternal comfort and care. 

Giving was her love language; not just in the physical sense but in the sense that she would give her time and energy to anyone in need. With a contagious laugh, infamous “kitty voice”, and a smile that could light up a room, Mary Lou was truly a one-of-a-kind human. She brought light everywhere she went and she loved with her whole heart. 

The Massara family would like to make special note of the compassionate staff at the Wellsville Manor. All the tiny miracles and the people who tirelessly work to care for our elder community deserve acknowledgement. We are forever grateful for those that helped us navigate this tough journey.

There will be a ‘Celebration of Life’ held for Mary Lou this Friday, March 10th from 4pm-6pm at The Main Place, 251 Main Street, Hornell, NY 14843. All are welcome to come and celebrate the vibrant person we will all miss so dearly. Arrangements are under the direction of Baker-Swan Funeral Home in Andover. Online condolences may be offered at

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the FTD foundation at where together we will work to fight this terrible disease. © 2022 Baker-Swan Funeral Home

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