Sandra JoAnne McHugh, age 75, South Yarmouth, MA, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on January 29, 2019 at Cape Cod Hospital after a long battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. She was born on November 10, 1943 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the late Pap-Pap, Peter Frank Stefano and Dorothy Mae Miller.
She graduated from Finleyville high school in 1960 and married James McHugh in 1963. She spent most of her life in the Pittsburgh area as a stay-at-home Mom, but she also worked a variety of jobs including a dance teacher at the Arthur Murray School of Dance, a school Police Guard at Bethel Park, a short-order cook at Angelo’s Restaurant in Monongahela, as a salesperson for the Gateway Clipper Fleet, and she retired in 2012 as a cook at the former Hilltop Residence in Mon Valley where she forged lifelong friendships. While her marriage was dissolved in 1983, she spent many wonderful years with the love of her life, Pete Heckman.
Her greatest pleasure was spending quality time with her family, especially her children and grandchildren. She was instrumental in helping to create a special adoptive family for her son, Doug and his wife Kimberlee; and she will always be remembered and revered for this amazing gift. She moved to Cape Cod, MA in 2014 and became an integral part of the McHugh family. A lover of the ocean and lighthouses, she enjoyed relaxing at the beach. She made many new friends at the Yarmouth Senior Housing apartment complex and touched the lives of many people on Cape Cod.
We will fondly remember her for her sense of humor and dry wit. While she was of petite height, her colorful commentary was larger than life. If anyone got out of line, she was famous for dishing out “ten hits with a wet noodle” or “bend over and assume the position!” She perfected the “Italian stare” which would wither anyone into a quivering mess. She was truly from the old school, clipping coupons, leaving cut-out newspaper articles for us to find the next morning to “help” us with our parenting skills, saving every single coffee can, takeout dish or plastic container and we don’t know why. And we can’t stop there, she saved every single recipe in the hopes of becoming the next Julia Childs, though to be honest, her cooking skills were less than desirable in the later years (sorry Nonny). If anyone ever needed to be cheered up, she was right there with a joke, a smile and a warm hug. When faced with adversities in her life, she maintained a positive outlook and was a glass-half full kind of gal. She was always there to lend a hand for friends and family in need. Known for her sweet tooth, she took great pride in her homemade candies and cookies, especially her world-class Pitzelles. Her grandchildren recall how she spoiled them with sweet treats and lots of hugs, and even when she got mad due to their misbehavior, they always knew she loved them “all the way up to the Lord.”
She was preceded in death by her half-sister, Rachel Stefano of Pittsburgh, PA. She is survived by her half-brothers, Thomas Stefano and his wife Debbie and Paul Stefano and his wife Ruth, of Pittsburgh, PA; her sons Gary McHugh and his wife Trudy of Jacksonville, FL and Doug McHugh and his wife Kimberlee of South Yarmouth, MA; her grandchildren Gary Beining of Palm Coast, FL and Sabrina and Connor McHugh of South Yarmouth, MA.
A Mass will be said in her honor on March 3, 2019 at St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth during the 9:00 am daily Mass, all are welcome to attend. An Italian feast will be held in her honor on March 3, 2019 at 12:00 pm at the Yarmouth Senior Apartment complex. For those who wish to attend the feast, please RSVP by email to email@example.com or text 774-487-8469.
Many thanks to medical staff at the Cape Cod Hospital, especially the CVICU nurses and doctors, who tirelessly worked to bring Sandy back to health but ultimately took special care of her during her last moments. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to: Child & Family Services, C/O Sandra McHugh Memorial Fund, 100 Independence Drive, Hyannis, MA 02601.