Allene Mary Faulkner Piazza, 93, formerly of 4782 Route 380, died Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, in Heritage Village Rehab and Skilled Nursing.
Born Feb. 5, 1920, on a small farm in the town of Ellery, she was the oldest of six children. On that farm her parents, Warren and Edna Spooner Faulkner, instilled roots of character, honesty, humility and hard work.
Allene graduated from Sinclairville High School.
Allene Mary Faulkner Piazza
Despite no formal college education, she blazed a trail on the local level regarding awareness for the mentally ill after her son, Carl, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her stead-fast mission was to provide the best care available for her son. Allene educated herself about schizophrenia and was always on the cutting edge of research and treatments. Armed with information she fielded crisis calls for many years from desperate community members, sometimes in the middle of the night, for help with their mentally ill loved ones. Allene was a vital link to the community. She tenaciously navigated her way through a complex mental health system and could tell anyone about the doctors, medications, counselors, treatment centers and resources for the mentally ill. For her countless volunteer hours helping others she did not ask for anything in return, except a hope that she would see better treatment for her son, Carl, and that someone else would continue the fight for the mentally ill, particularly for her son, after she is gone.
Recognizing the need for family support, she organized the first local chapter of Families As Partners NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) of Chautauqua County. She and other advocates lobbied and put constant pressure on politicians at the local, state and federal levels for improved quality of care and for funds to treat and research mental illness. In the 1980s, she served on the Board of Visitors to help assure patient rights and quality care of institutions. Allene received numerous awards for her outstanding advocacy, including the 8th annual Kendra Webdale Award in 2007 by NAMI. We should all be very proud of her.
Additionally, she was an accomplished seamstress, a gifted cook, a generous benefactor to a variety of charities, and a constant source of nurturing to her family.
Surviving are three sons: William (Kathryn) Piazza, Warren (Dian) Piazza and Carl Piazza, all of James-town; seven grandchildren: Steven Piazza, Karen Piazza Buck, Patrick Piazza, Nichole Segrue, Marla Piazza-Siegel, Lisa Humbert and Jeanne Piazza; 18 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; and three sisters: Anne Nickerson of Jamestown, Evelyn Sample of North Carolina, and Lois Leslie of Georgia.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Carl Samuel Piazza, whom she married Jan. 1, 1939, and who died Dec. 3, 1983; a sister, Francis Martin; and a brother, Ralph Faulkner.
The funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Friday in the Lind Funeral Home. The Rev. John L. Kuhlmann will officiate.
Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.Friends will be received from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Thursday in the funeral home.
Memorials may be made to NAMI Chautauqua County, c/o NAMI President, 10101 Center Road, Forestville, NY 14062.
You may light a candle in remembrance of Allene at www.lindfuneralhome.com.