Carmel passed away on November 7, 2019, following a short battle with cancer. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Joseph and Theresa Figliomeni, Carmel grew up in a large extended family. She moved to California in the late 1940’s and graduated from Campbell High School.
Although Carmel contracted polio in her pre-teen years, dashing her hopes of being a dancer, she overcame that obstacle, fighting on and learning to walk again. After her recovery, Carmel’s Uncle Tony, a commercial artist, gave her some paint brushes and art books. She studied them and began painting. With innate talent and hard work, Carmel became a prolific artist, which lasted throughout her life. She took some time off to raise her two children and began painting in earnest when they were a little older. She honed her skills and broadened her media. Using oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels and charcoal she handled every kind of subject and landscape, even using computer chips and kitty litter to create unique but relatable texture in her pieces. Her paintings are proudly displayed in many Silicon Valley homes.
Recognizing that she could share her talent with others, Carmel taught painting to both children and adult art students. Some of her students have become artists in their own right. When she started to slow down in her 60s, she stuck with teaching, bringing her mother, the famed Mama Tessie, along to help and to learn some skills herself - cackling with pride at the paintings she completed.
Another talent Carmel had was in cooking. She was an early “foodie” and a great chef. Again, she shared her talents through teaching cooking classes, catering and even writing a cookbook. Other interests were traveling the U.S. with her husband, listening to her son’s music and watching Clint Eastwood movies.
In addition to her parents, Carmel is joined in passing by her younger brother Vincent, her husband, Donald de la Pena, and her step-daughter Kimberly Taggart. Carmel is survived by her two children, Stephen Foglia and Barbara Duggan, two step-children, Michael de la Pena and Chris Dunia, and grandchildren Jillian Duggan-Herd, Joseph, Jonathan and Michael Duggan, Joseph Taggart, Zachary and Cody Dunia, Kai de la Pena, and great-granddaughters Orion Karin Duggan-Herd and Emerald Winston Allard Duggan.
Friends and family are invited to services for Carmel as follows: On Sunday, November 24, Visitation from 4:00-8:00 pm at Darling Fischer Chapel of the Hills, 615 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, with Rosary at 7:00 pm. On Monday, November 25, Funeral Mass at 1:00 pm at Holy Spirit Church, 1200 Redmond Ave, San Jose. Burial at Los Gatos Memorial Park, 2255 Los Gatos Almaden Rd, San Jose, at 2:30 pm. Reception and Celebration of Life to follow the burial at location to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to any of the following cancer-related organizations or the charity of your choice: UC Berkeley Cancer Research Laboratory Fund, Stanford Cancer Center or the American Cancer Society.
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