Mary J. Palaia

Mary J. (Tornetta) Palaia, 95, of Collegeville, passed away Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at The Landing at Collegeville, surrounded by her family.  She was the wife of the late Joseph J. Palaia who passed away in 2016.

Born March 16, 1926, in Norristown, she was a daughter of the late Charles and Josephine (Swalla) Tornetta.  

Mary was the ultimate homemaker and devoted her life to her family creating many family traditions that continue to carry on.  She was an avid cook and baker – no one could come into the house without sitting down to share a meal or piece of cake.  Her specialties were Christmas cookies, Easter bread, and she even made the wedding cakes for many of her children and grandchildren. 

While family was always first, Mary found time to help and serve others.   Over the years, she cooked for the rectory at St. Titus, the convent at St. Helena, and was a lunch lady in the Norristown School District.   

She was active in the Catholic War Veterans Post 1182 ladies auxiliary since 1947 (her husband Joseph was one of the founding members).   She held positions at the local chapter and state level.  

Mrs. Palaia is survived by her children, Marian Patro (wife of late Hank Patro) of Trappe, PA, Dominic Palaia and his wife, Cindy, of Odenton, MD, Joseph Palaia and his wife, Theresa, of Marco Island, FL, and Donna Cobb and her husband, Kenneth, of Skippack, PA; one brother; 10 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild. She was preceded in death by her five sisters and one grandson.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend her funeral Mass at 11:30 on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, at St. Helena RC Church, Blue Bell, PA, where a viewing will be held from 10:30 – 11: 15 AM. Burial will follow at St. Patrick Cemetery.  Contributions may be made In her memory to the Southeastern PA Veterans Center, 1 Veterans Dr., Spring City, PA  19475.   Online condolences may be made to the family at