Christina Esposito, manager at school

Posted: July 21, 2013

Christina Marie DeSantis Viola Esposito, 89, a former business office manager at Episcopal Academy, died Monday, July 15, of an infection at Bryn Mawr Hospital.

Her life was centered on family, music, food, and charity. Vibrant to the end, Mrs. Esposito was "a true lady," a grandson said, both in substance and in style.

"She was generous, tolerant, and kind," grandson Rob Viola said. "Growing up, I would see her many times a week, and she always embodied the best kind of old-fashioned values."

She worked at her parents' luncheonette, her husband's tailor shop, Episcopal Academy, and finally at her son Robert Viola's employee-benefits firm in Conshohocken.

Fluent in Italian, Mrs. Esposito was deeply rooted in Italian culture. She traveled to Italy many times.

She was an accomplished singer and performed with the Delaware County Community College Chorus and the Cabrini College Chorus for 30 years. Starting in the 1980s, the groups toured Europe 10 times, performing in 16 countries.

Mrs. Esposito went to work at Episcopal Academy in the late 1950s, starting as a clerk in the business office. She worked her way up to manager and retired after nearly 40 years.

Mrs. Esposito was a 14-year member of the PEO (Philanthropic Educational Organization) Sisterhood, an international group providing educational opportunities for women worldwide. She helped give $12,000 loans to women looking to complete undergraduate degrees.

Born in Philadelphia, she was the eldest daughter of Italian immigrants from Foggia. She graduated from West Catholic Girls High School in 1941.

Cleaning the porch one day, she attracted the notice of neighbor Guido Viola. When he returned from military service in 1943, they were married and later had two sons.

Like many second-generation Italian immigrants, they moved west from Philadelphia after World War II, to Drexel Hill and to Havertown in the early 1950s.

Her husband died at the age of 58 in 1979. In 1983, she married Mario Esposito.

He died in 1992, and she eventually retired to White Horse Village in Newtown Square.

In addition to her son and grandson, she is survived by another son, John Viola; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services were Thursday, July 18.

Donations may be made to PEO Foundation, 3700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50312.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8102 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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