MIDDLETOWN, NJ -- Perhaps it was Marie Conti’s childhood growing up in Atlantic City’s heyday during the roaring 20s that gave her that sparkle all of her life.  Perhaps it was her love of the Jersey Shore beaches that made her a breath of fresh air in every room. Perhaps it was growing up in a large family that made her love hers so much as it continues to grow.

Marie Conti, longtime resident of Middletown and Ocean Township passed away peacefully on Monday, January 11 at the age of 97. 

From a small home on Cherry Tree Farm Road in Middletown, Marie and her beloved husband of 50 years, George, sprouted a family tree with deep roots that stretched throughout Monmouth County and New Jersey to New York, Florida, and Colorado. 

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George, a World War II veteran who passed away in 2000, was well-known as the football coach at Mater Dei High School for many years.

Marie, ever the elegant hostess, would hold countless parties for her husband’s coaches and players. Whether it was cheering on her husband’s team or the one coached by her son or watching her grandchildren playing against each other on Thanksgiving Day, football was a common thread in the Conti household.

A devout Catholic, she was active at St. Mary’s Mother of God church where she made many life-long friends. Her deep belief in God assures the family that she is now in heaven with George and her beloved friends who were excellent companions in life.

In fact, she would often enjoy a Sunday afternoon martini at one of her favorite places in Monmouth County, especially the Molly Pitcher Inn, having “just a little taste,” or maybe two, of a treat with a friend.

In the summers of the 1970s and 80s, Marie and the family could be found at the Middletown Swim Club lapping up the sun. In the 1990s and 2000s, she would be socializing throughout the sunny days at Driftwood Cabana Club down along water’s edge with her feet in the sand and enjoying a bite of cheese and fruit and a glass of wine with friends and family.

Marie was always one with a compliment to make you feel better, even on tough days. But, the occasional slightly furrowed brow and nose followed by “I don’t care for that much” would let you know how she felt.

She rejoiced in her family’s triumphs and happiness, and prayed for them deeply in their challenges.  You would find Marie right in the center of the dancefloor at any family wedding kicking up her high heels with a jitterbug. Her excitement for a new marriage or a new baby that added to the Conti clan was infectious.

From the top of her always perfectly coifed hair to those steely blue eyes to the out-stretched arms ready to greet you, Marie Conti was the epitome of a lady.  The cheer in her voice saying, “Oh! Hi Honey, how are you?” accompanied by a hug or hand squeeze will linger in many hearts.  The family knows that, when she arrived in Heaven, she rejoiced with the same “Oh! Hi Honey, how are you?” upon being reunited with her husband George, her grandson, George Louis Conti, and her many other loved ones, gone before her, gathered to welcome her into her eternal rest.

Marie’s legacy will carry on through her six children and their families: George B. and June Conti, Maureen and William Stavola, Kathleen and Jerry Meyers, Karyn and Geoff Rea, Michael and Beth Conti, and Robert and Maria Conti.  Beloved Grandchildren: George Louis Conti (deceased), Tina Conti Pritzlaff, Eddie and Margaux Conti, Christopher and Andrea Stavola, Jason Stavola, Melissa and Josh Morino, John and Elizabeth Meyers, Casey and Juliette Meyers, Ryan Meyers, Kristen and Andrew Miller, Carson Rea, Samantha Conti, McKayla Conti, Cole Conti, Sophia Conti, Bella Conti, Mia Conti, Cecilia Conti; and 12 great-grandchildren Hannah Stavola, Olivia Stavola, Talia Pritzlaff, Tiana Pritzlaff, Chloe Morino, Jack Morino, Caleb Morino, Matthew Meyers, Molly Meyers, Charlotte Meyers, Dylan Meyers and Poppy Miller. She also is survived by Richard Cusano, and her nieces Barbie and Marie.

The family is honoring her in a private ceremony on Saturday, January 16 but a celebration of her life, one very well-lived, will be held in the spring.