Salem — Mrs. Diana (Giardi) Orlando, 73, of Salem, passed away after a year-long battle with cancer, on Friday, January 10, 2014, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers, surrounded by her immediate family.
Born in Beverly on September 29, 1940, she was the daughter of the late Rocco and Vincenza (Montoni) Giardi. She leaves behind her husband, Salvatore Orlando, just shy of their 50th wedding anniversary this April; her son, Salvatore Orlando Jr. of Salem; and her daughter, Alicia Ryan and her husband, Frederick Ryan of Salem. Diana also had three grandchildren, McKenzie, Devyn and Mitchell Ryan, all of Salem. She was a faithful communicant of St. Mary’s Italian Church in Salem, until it closed in 2002.
Diana was a remarkable woman, devoted wife, mother, and loving grandmother. Her passions in life were her family, her work and her commitment to the Salem sports community, from Little League all the way through Salem High School.
Diana and Salvatore Orlando of Gloucester were married in 1964. A few years after their marriage, they built a new home in the Witchcraft Heights section of Salem. From that moment on, their home became the center of all family and social gatherings for nearly 50 years. Just about every baptism, birthday, confirmation, holidays, and family reunions were celebrated at Diane’s house. Beyond theses social occasions, there was a buffet every Sunday that included the best Italian food, ravioli, meatballs, sausages, spaghetti, and of course, hot dogs and hamburgers, in the summer. Diana was a great cook and she would get insulted if anyone did not get a second helping. In addition to family gatherings, there were constant parades of players and teams from Little League, high school and college, who came to eat and swim at Diana’s house. Her husband, Sal, was a legendary Little League coach for almost 40 years, and who always had his teams at the house after games. Years and even decades after kids had played, they would often come back to reminisce, and of course, eat with Diana and Sal. Everyone was always welcome.