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Oct. 2, 1916 – Dec. 5, 2013

Maria Colla, who founded Gondola Macaroni Products after starting out making pasta with her husband in their West Side home, died Thursday at her Buffalo home. She was 97.

Born in Crespano Del Grappa, Italy, she came to Buffalo in 1956 with her three children to be with her husband, who arrived the year before.

Mrs. Colla and her husband, Guido, started making ravioli in their kitchen in 1963, and it soon became known on the West Side. They purchased a building on Niagara Street in 1967 so the business could expand.

Customers from all over the world came to the small store to purchase homemade ravioli, tortellini and pasta. Mrs. Colla didn’t speak much English but still made her customers feel appreciated.

She retired in 1978, and her husband died in 1985.

Survivors include two daughters, Maria Insalaco and Antonella McNinch; six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Prayers will be said at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the Greco Funeral Home, 2909 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 160 Court St.