She beat the Spanish Flu as a child – now 102-year-old Niagara Falls Great-Great-Grandmother beats COVID-19.

May 31, 2020

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Talk about an amazing life!

Evelyn Cichelli is 102 years old – and she is clearly a fighter.  Evelyn beat the Spanish Flu as a child – and now – she beat COVID-19, too.

Two weeks ago, the Great-Great-Grandmother tested positive for the Coronavirus in her nursing home.  She was recently tested again and was negative. Her family members, as you can imagine, were terrified. But – this fighter beat it!



More than a century on this earth. Stop and imagine for one moment all she’s been through.

Born Evelina Cuervo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1917. The second of four daughters born to parents who came here from Asturias, Spain in search of the American Dream.

Evelina became Evelyn and married Louis Cichelli in 1939.



The couple lived in Niagara Falls where they raised their three daughters.


Chris Moses shared details with me about her beautiful Grandmother.

“She is a fighter. She has always loved to cook and bake. My grandfather passed away in 1976 and she had to learn to be independent . She never drove, always walked or took the bus. She lived right off of Pine Avenue, belonged to St. Joseph’s Parish and never missed mass. After my grandfather died she filled her time volunteering. She was a member of the St. Joseph’s senior society, she volunteered with project literacy, worked at the nutrition center at the boys club, volunteered at memorial hospital doing filing in the offices. She also was a latchkey aide at St. Joseph’s school from the mid to late 90’s til they closed.”

Evelyn has 5 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren and one great great granddaughter – named after this family matriarch.

Here is a photo from the incredible moment Evelyn met Brynn Evelyn.



As a child – Evelyn survived the Spanish Flu, World War 1, and the Great Depression.

She raised her children through World War II.

Evelyn has had more than her share of loss, but she has always put family first.

“She has lost her husband, a daughter, all of her sisters and a granddaughter. She was grandma to all my friends, moving furniture around so we could do the bus stop and the hustle in her kitchen. She learned and did it, too.”

Chris says her grandmother has always been quite a character!!

“She was a matchmaker, we would go to church together and she always sat in the same spot behind a certain guy. She thought he was cute and he was always alone. I said why do we sit here? She said because for the sign of peace he has to turn around and shake your hand. Needless to say it worked and we have been married 35 years now.”

A life well-lived. A woman of strength, faith and family.

“In 2007 right after she turned 90 she either had a mild stroke or heart attack and could not live alone any more. She became a resident of Schoellkoph and never complained or asked about her house. She accepted it. She is loved by the staff there. She has been there for 12 years. They are wonderful, caring people. They’ve Skyped with my aunt to show her that’s she is doing okay. She does sleep most of the time now but she is aware of who is there and always acknowledges you with a smile.”




Evelyn Cichelli reminds us of the importance of family.  God Bless you!!!!!!



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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