Patricia Rozzi was the matriarch of a large Italian-American family, and everyone turned to her for advice and support.

“She was so much to so many people,” said her son Lorenzo Rozzi of Windham. “That’s the thing that amazes me. She was selfless and she was always there for you.”

Mrs. Rozzi died on Sunday after a period of declining health. She was 87.

She and her late husband, Fred Rozzi Sr., had four children. In their early years, the couple lived on Munjoy Hill in Portland and operated Freddy’s Top of the Hill Meat Market. He was a meat cutter and she worked when she could. She balanced her time at the store with family.

The couple moved to Windham and operated Rozzi’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, and later The Old Fire Barn Steakhouse. They also ran Square Peg Restaurant and Lounge in Naples.

Rozzi said his mother did numerous jobs in every restaurant his father owned. She was a cook, a waitress, bartender and hostess.

He laughed Tuesday recalling the times his mother checked IDs at the door and collected a cover charge from patrons.

“I know it sounds crazy. Not too many people gave my mother lip,” he said.

Rozzi said his mother was a hard worker and enjoyed working in the restaurants along with her husband and their children.

“They wanted to be together,” Rozzi said of his parents. “Typical Italians. They found a way to make it all work.”

The Rozzis were married for 54 years before he died in 2004. Her son described their life together as a happy one. Rozzi said there was a lot of laughter in their home. He shared memories of his parents dancing and doing the jitterbug. He said they enjoyed spending winters in Marco Island, Fla.

“I loved that she was just herself,” Rozzi said. “She was never anything other than herself. She was pretty good. She was so genuine. She was someone you could be with.”

Mrs. Rozzi’s life centered on her family, which included her children and grandchildren and some 80 nieces and nephews. She kept tabs on many of them through Facebook. Her Facebook page says she has 51 friends and recently completed level 20 in Candy Crush Saga. Rozzi said his mother embraced new technology.

“She was like everyone’s mother,” her son said. “She was a good person,” always available to provide advice and support.

Mrs. Rozzi also enjoyed tending the gardens at her home in Windham. In recent years, as her heath began to decline, her son took over the gardening duties.

“I called it window gardening,” he said, chuckling. “She would holler out the window and tell me what to do. She loved flowers. She spent a lot of time in her garden.”

Mrs. Rozzi’s obituary, which is published in Wednesday’s newspaper, said she didn’t complain about her ailments and was grateful for all the help and support she received. Rozzi said he will miss her.

“I hope everyone that has gone before her (is) up there with her dancing, doing the jitterbug and carrying on,” he said.

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

mcreamer@pressherald.com