Helen Mazzoli, wife of former congressman, dies at age 78

By GLENN RUTHERFORD
Record Editor

Helen Mazzoli, who along with her husband, former Third District Congressman Romano Mazzoli, served as co-chair of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Building a Future of Hope Campaign, died June 18.

Helen Mazzoli, wife of long-time Third District Congressman Romano “Ron” Mazzoli, died after suffering a stroke at the family’s home on Monday.

WHAS-11 reported that family friend and former congressional aide Charlie Mattingly told the news media about the death on Tuesday afternoon.

Helen Mazzoli was 78.

She and her husband served as co-chairs of the Archdiocese of Louisville’s Building a Future of Hope Campaign, which began in 2008. Since Ron Mazzoli’s retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives in 1995, the pair were active together in various civic and community activities. At the time of the launching of the fund-raising campaign for the archdiocese, the former congressman — who was first elected in 1971 — said he and his wife were “a pair, as if we’re joined at the hip. She’s always been my right hand,” Ron Mazzoli said.

At a press conference announcing the campaign and their role in it, Helen Mazzoli said the couple, members of Our Mother of Sorrows Church, had prayed together about taking on the responsibility.

Ron Mazzoli had left political life, he said, because he tired of the constant need to raise funds for campaigns. Now the couple, who were married for 52 years, were being asked to raise money once again.

“We agreed that this is the right thing to do,” Helen Mazzoli said at the press event. “We agreed that it means everything to us. The archdiocese has been such a part of our lives, all through our lives.”

Helen Mazzoli’s education was in Archdiocese of Louisville schools. She began at St. Elizabeth of Hungary School, then attended St. Martin of Tours School. She is a graduate of Ursuline Academy and Ursuline College.

In 2003 the Mazzolis went back to college — together — when  Ron Mazzoli accepted a chance to attend Harvard College’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass. He had spent three months the previous year teaching at the Kennedy School, and that experience allowed both Ron and Helen Mazzoli to take classes and attend lectures.

“We’ve always made every major decision in our lives together, both the personal and the political,” he explained during a 2003 interview. Going back to college “wouldn’t have happened except for Helen and her ability to be adaptable.”

Ron and Helen Mazzoli have two children and four grandchildren.

Visitation for Helen Mazzoli will be from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. June 22 at the Ratterman Funeral Home, 3800 Bardstown Road. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. June 23 at Our Mother of Sorrows Church, 770 Eastern Parkway.

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