Costantina ‘Tinetta’ Sebben

Costantina ‘Tinetta’ Sebben

LAKEVILLE — Costantina “Tinetta” Sebben passed away March 7, 2021. Tinetta was born in Frassene di Fonzaso, Provincia di Belluno, Italy, on May 7, 1928. Her parents were Maria Zucco and Bortolo Sebben.

Tinetta emigrated with her parents to the United States after World War II. During the 1950s and ’60s she lived with them in Lakeville. Upon leaving Lakeville she returned to Fonzaso to live. She married her childhood sweetheart, Giacomo Minella. Together they raised their family, two girls and two boys. Giacomo predeceased Tinetta.

Tinetta leaves behind her daughters, Cristiana and Lucia Minella of Fonzaso; her son Roberto Minella, her daughter-in-law Manuela Siabone and grandson Andrea, of Arten, Italy; and her son Stefano Minella, daughter-in-law Melania and their children Mattia and Sara, of Dublin, Ireland. She is survived by her brother, Pierro Sebben and his spouse, Lucille, of Clifton, N.J., and her nephew, Robert Sebben of Carteret, N.J. She was also predeceased by her sister Santina Sebben.

Tinetta was gracious, generous, warm-hearted and fun-loving. She always welcomed, with open arms, members of the extended Sebben family; the Marcons of Larchmont, N.Y., and Flat Rock, Mich., the Possidentes of North Haven, Conn., the Stantons of Hamden, Conn., and the Britts of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who traveled to Fonzaso to visit her and her family.

Many of these family members gathered in her honor when she last visited Lakeville.

Tinetta was justly proud of the majestic Dolomiti valley in which she raised her family. She was known to set an inviting table replete with traditional piatti Dolomiti. Her Italian-style braised coniglio was a favorite. But her signature offering was a one-of-a-kind basil infused homemade grappa. No meal at Tinetta’s was complete without it. It was lauded by New York City grappa cognoscenti, and discerning Vermont anglers.

She was a beacon of familial love and heritage for her visitors. She resided with her family in a home built and lived in by past generations of the Sebben family. A visit with Tinetta was a walk-through in real time of family history and lore.

She helped in the preparation of the recently published work of biographical fiction, released on International Women’s Day 2021, “Under the Light of the Italian Moon,” written by Jennifer Anton. The book depicts life in Fonzaso between the World Wars and the resilience of Italian women living under fascism. Tinetta herself was witness to Nazi atrocities in Frassene at the end of World War II.

Tinetta was a communicant at the Church of the Nativity of Mary in Fonzaso. And she was the sexton at Our Lady of the Assumption chapel in Frassene. She helped tend the family vineyard, and kept a textbook garden. There were always a few resident chickens to provide eggs for omelets, which she sometimes made with wild asparagus.

She kept her English skills current by listening to BBC radio. She never missed a word in a conversation with her English-speaking, Italian-language-deprived, relatives.

She was known for her wit, kindness and patience. She will be sorely missed.

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