Antoinette DePalma passed away in her home of natural causes on December 9.
Antoinette was born in Brooklyn, and moved to Hoboken with her parents when she was four. She attended Our Lady of Grace School, and Demarest Junior High School until she had to leave to work in a garment factory. Eventually, she earned her GED and took business classes at Jersey City State College.
Antoinette’s life-long love of music began in her childhood, in part from listening to Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. Although classical music and opera were her first loves, her musical taste was vast and included a particular fondness for the Beatles. Antoinette was very active in Our Lady of Grace Parish’s musical productions, and sang in the Our Lady of Grace church choir for more than forty years. With her second husband Emanuel Leemans, she founded the Hoboken Renaissance Singers (HRS), a chamber vocal group. For years they hosted HRS rehearsals at their home, evenings filled with music, song, wine, and cheese with decades-old friends.
Antoinette sang soprano for almost forty years with the Collegiate Chorale, a New York City-based professional chorus. As part of the Chorale she sang with tenor Luciano Pavarotti and under the direction of Zubin Mehta of the New York Philharmonic. Her work included performances of the American premiere of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Oratorio with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Antoinette loved being part of this internationally-renowned choral group, of course, and always relieved to pass its annual auditions (at the time of her death, she could still hit a high A). But she was almost as delighted to have discovered the best time to leave NJ to ensure the shortest drive time and free parking outside of Carnegie Hall for her weekly rehearsals.
During her long career, Antoinette held various support and managerial positions at the Stevens Institute bookstore, U.S. Testing Company, and ChemTech, a NYC-based environmental consulting firm. Typically, she would start at low-level positions and within a short time, she would be running the place, whatever place that was. After Antoinette “retired” she worked about fifteen years as a licensed realtor and a volunteer at local hospitals.
During her time on earth Antoinette brought laughs, love, a generous spirit, and happiness to all she encountered. She was a genuine force of nature, who lit up every room she walked…no, bounded…into. Antoinette was quick-witted, laughed easily, and loved fiercely and deeply.
She is survived by three children: Dan and spouse Debryn, Annette, and Angelo and wife Mary, grandchildren Catherine, Nina, Claudia, Helen, Peter, William, Chayse, and Ava, and great grandchildren Rafael and Rosamaria. Antoinette was predeceased by her first husband of 28 years, John DePalma, and her second husband Emanuel Leemans.
Visitation for Antoinette will be held on Tuesday, December 13, 2022 from 4:00 – 8:00 PM at the Lawton Turso Funeral Home at 633 Washington Street, Hoboken (Corner of Washington and Seventh Streets, parking on Seventh). A Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 11:00 AM in Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Hoboken (400 Willow Ave). Entombment will follow at Holy Cross Mausoleum in North Arlington, NJ.