There were three Cipullo sisters raised by Salvatore and Louise up on Amsterdam’s Academy Street. RoseLee was the oldest. She graduated from Amsterdam High in 1962, got her teaching degree, married a local boy named Ray Dugas who would get his doctorate in chemistry and eventually move RoseLee and their three kids down south. The youngest Cipullo sister was MaryAnn. She also graduated from AHS and married another Amsterdam native, John Wall, who was a superb high school athlete. She and John have remained in Amsterdam and raised their two daughters here. That brings us to the middle Cipullo sister, who is today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant.
Regina Cipullo was born here on May 26,1947. Like her two siblings, Regina attended Academy Street Elementary School and early on, she showed both an interest and an aptitude for art. She won a Montgomery County SPCA Poster contest as a second grader and sure enough, she would develop into an outstanding water color artist as an adult. Regina went on to graduate from AHS like her sisters and then went to SUNY Oneonta and got her teaching degree. She would accept a teaching position at Rome Catholic High School where she would at one time or another teach Math, Business and Home Economics. She did an excellent job with each. But her contribution to her school community went beyond her classrooms and extended long after the bell rang or diplomas got awarded. Here’s what a few of her former students and co-workers had to say about her:
“…one of the most caring and sincere people I have met in my life. She was so creative and artistic. A watercolor painting she gave me for Christmas a few years ago made me cry when I opened it Christmas morning. I immediately hung it in my office hallway. I think of Regina every day. A beautiful person in every way.”
“…an amazing woman, friend and teacher. I, along with so many RCH alum, will never forget her and the things she taught us that were used in and out of the classroom…(She) believed in what she did and in her students. I was very blessed to have run into her at a store some twenty years after graduation. When we noticed each other, she didn’t skip a beat and gave me one of those witty opening lines. She asked me for my address because she told me she had something she wanted to send me but wouldn’t tell me what It was. Just a few days later I received something packed in a brown shopping bag. The outside of the package was decorated in beautiful flowers made from colored pencils. When I opened the package I was shocked to find my apron that I made as part of Senior Home Ec. I am sure Miss Cipullo kept a treasure chest of student work because she cherished her students.”
“Miss Cipullo taught me to sew following a pattern and to cook following a recipe. Those are skills I have applied to every aspect of my life, every day! More importantly, she taught me that life is too short to not be happy! I wake up every day and choose joy in my life because she modeled that for me! The world benefitted from the life of Regina Cipullo. It is a brighter place for having had her in it!”
Though they were separated by distance, the Cipullo sisters remained super close throughout the years. Regina’s wonderful sense of humor kept them laughing and she absolutely adored her nieces and nephews.
When Regina fell ill, it would be her two sisters who rallied around her. She had moved back to Amsterdam and they were all together when she passed away this past February at the age of 68. You hope that before you die you can make a positive difference in the lives of others. As the comments above underscore, Regina did not have to hope. She did. May she rest in peace.
Amsterdam’s most famous industrialist was also born on May 26.