Denise Rapanaro

Final Resting Place

Monday, January 1, 1753
Oak Grove Cemetery
500 N. White Horse Pike
Hammonton, New Jersey, United States

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Victory Bible Church
816 S. Egg Haror Road
Hammonton, New Jersey, United States

Obituary of Denise A. Rapanaro

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Denise A. Rapanaro (Perna), 79, of Hammonton, NJ, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, February 12, 2023 after a battle with lung cancer. She passed away peacefully with her family by her side while listening to the song, "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." Denise was born on April 14, 1943, to Thomas and Alice (DeLosso) Perna. As the oldest of six children, Denise helped her parents with raising her siblings. "She helped mom take care of all the children," her sister Patty recounted. She was the "mother hen" of the family, her sister Shirley added, especially after their mother's passing. She made sure to see or speak with her siblings every day, even her brother Tommy who lives in Las Vegas. "She called me every morning," he recounted. From the Dollar Tree employees, to her mechanic, to her family, everyone knew Denise as a kind-hearted woman. "Denise always considered others' feelings first, which is rare in the world today," her sister Alice said. "She never had a nasty word to say about anybody," Shirley added. She was a peacemaker and cared for her family and others deeply. Denise enjoyed capturing moments with photos; making pizzelles during the holidays for family and friends; making daily trips to ShopRite, Goodwill, and the Dollar Tree; visiting with family, especially her Aunt Amelia and cousins Dolores and Ralphie; and—most of all—sending cards to loved ones on all occasions to let them know she was thinking of them. "She believed the simple act of sending a card brought the receiver tremendous joy, even if but for a minute," her sister Beverly recounted. She would spend hours in the store trying to find the perfect card for someone, Shirley and Tommy added, and she left behind a box filled with cards already filled out and ready to be sent for the next five months. Some fun facts about Denise include that she was once featured on an Atlantic City Beach postcard and she was once a model for a national hairstylist competition, where she represented New Jersey as a mermaid. Denise attended Hammonton High School (class of 1961), Mason de Paris Beauty School in Camden, NJ, and medical technology school in Philadelphia. Throughout her life, she wore many hats. She was a medical technical assistant for an ear, throat, and nose doctor in Marlton, NJ; a medical secretary for a cardiologist; a lab assistant for Hammonton Medical Laboratories; a real estate agent; and a hairdresser at Alice's Beauty Salon (owned by her mother), where she worked until it closed in 2004. Most notably, after living and working outside Hammonton for some years with her former husband of 15 years, Mario Rapanaro, she moved back home and served as the primary caregiver for her mother until her passing in 2007. Denise was predeceased by her parents, Thomas and Alice (nee DeLosso) Perna. She is survived by her five siblings, Shirley Passalacqua, Patricia Petersen (Ken), Alice Boyd, Beverly Quinn (Pat), and Thomas Perna, Jr.; many nieces and nephews, whom she loved as if they were her own children; cousins; and friends. A celebration of life memorial service will be held at Victory Bible Church in Hammonton, NJ on Thursday, February 16, at 11:00 AM. Burial will follow at Oak Grove Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to The Samaritan Center at Voorhees, PO 71425, Philadelphia, PA 19176-1425.
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