Celestella Rich, 85, a beloved wife and mother who loved the Lord and was endlessly devoted to her family, died August 25 in Staten Island University Hospital, Ocean Breeze.
Born Celestella Williams in 1935 on the Fourth of July in Halifax County, N.C., her parents were Garfield Williams and the former Maggie Pierce. Celestella was born into a large family of 12 children which also included eight brothers and three sisters.
In her late teens, Celestella left North Carolina relocating to the Bronx. She later moved to Staten Island following some of her siblings who had already settled in the borough. While here, she lived in West Brighton and later moved to Tottenville becoming one of the few black families living in that community in the 1960s.
She worked for a short time at Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx. She then spent three years at the former Seaview Hospital Rehabilitation Center and Home.
Celestella worked for 10 years in the Housekeeping Department of the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin, Mount Loretto, Pleasant Plains. It was while working here that she met her future husband, William; the two married in January 1966 in St. Philip's Baptist Church, Port Richmond, where they both attended services.
After their marriage, Mrs. Rich left Mount Loretto in 1972 to raise a family. They later settled in Stapleton.
In 1976, Celestella returned to the workforce becoming a dietician in the Food Service Department of the South Beach Psychiatric Center. She was employed there for 34 years until her retirement in 2010.
In addition, Mrs. Rich worked for decades as a representative for Avon; her home-based beauty business helped to nurture her love of perfume and beautiful jewelry. She was well-known for often giving away products to family and friends.
Celestella was a phenomenal cook who often dazzled her family and other relatives with her delicious meals.
She was also an avid fan of Soap Operas, some of her favorites included, "General Hospital", "One Life to Live", "The Bold and the Beautiful", and "The Have and The Have Nots".
Celestella was a kind, generous, and loving mother, who worked tirelessly to care for her family.
"Our mom was a force of nature who devoted her life to Jesus Christ and would stop at nothing to make sure her family was taken care of," said her children.
She was predeceased by her husband of 51 years, William, who died in September 2017. She was also predeceased by two daughters, Sharon Rich, who died in October 2017, and Linda Marie White, who died in 1956.
In addition, she was also predeceased by brothers, Agail (her twin), Dock, Lentee, Charles, Taswell, Howard and Rolley; and her sisters, Lillian Cofield Roberson and Helen Clemans.
Celestella is survived by her son, Tourah; her daughter, Kiawana; a brother, Louis Williams, and a sister, Jessie Mae White. In addition, she is also survived by sisters-in-law, and numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.