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Died: Tue., Jul. 21, 2009

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Raffaela "Rae" Rose Coppola Orlando, 80, passed away Tuesday July 21, 2009 at her home in Bethany. Beloved wife of Rocco Orlando, she was born in New Haven on August 11, 1928, the daughter of the late Andrew and Eleanor Amatruda Coppola. Rae was educated in New Haven where she was the valedictorian at St. Mary's High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Albertus Magnus College in 1950, the first woman in the family to graduate from college. Upon graduation, she was a hematology laboratory supervisor at the Yale School of Medicine where she was involved in training young physicians. She transmitted her love of learning and science to her son Rocco. An accomplished pianist, her musical abilities had a great influence on her daughter Lisa. Family activities were a focal point of her life. Travel and exploration were also important as she and Rocco traveled the globe, finding lost family members and exploring new cultures. Together, their travels transcended disability and brought them to places as diverse as the summit of the Acropolis and the outback of Australia. She was involved in many community activities. She served on the Executive Committee of the Italian American Historical Society of Connecticut, the Executive Committee of the Ethnic Heritage Center of Connecticut at Southern Connecticut State University. Rae was a devoted supporter of the New Haven Scholarship Fund, which has awarded more than 6 million dollars to allow students in financial need to attend college. She was an avid supporter of local and national Democratic Party organizations. Besides her husband, she is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Dr. Rocco Orlando, III and Joanne Papanek Orlando of South Glastonbury; and her daughter and son-in-law Lisa Orlando Parisi and Michael J. Parisi of Cheshire, as well as her grandchildren Rocco Orlando, IV, Alexander Orlando, and Laura Parisi; her brother and his wife Dr. Paul J. and Eileen Coppola of Madison and numerous nieces and nephews. Friends may call at The Celentano Funeral Home, 424 Elm St. (cor Dwight) New Haven Thursday from 4 to 8 PM and are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Center Road, Woodbridge Friday, July 24th at 10:00 AM. Entombment in St. Lawrence Garden Mausoleum. Memorial donations may be sent to Albertus Magnus College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 700 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511.

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