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Mrs. Eileen B. Vitola, wife of Dr. Carl Vitola Succumbs to Lou Gehrig's Disease; She was 63


ALS cannot rob my capacity to love and appreciate, nor can it take my spirit Vitola, Eileen Photothat believes life is beautiful. Every day on earth is a gift”. 

 ~ Eileen B. Vitola

(1953-April 29, 2016)


William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNewsnet


Mrs. Eileen B. Vitola  (nee Underwood) of Sewell, N.J. loss her three-plus-year battle with *ALS on Friday, April 29, 2016. She was 63.

A former Gloucester City resident, Eileen was married to Dr. Carl Vitola for 41 years and worked by his side for many years in his office.  In 2013, after 30 plus years of service to patients in the South Jersey area, Dr. Vitola closed his office so he could take care of Eileen full-time. 

Anyone who ever saw the couple together knew right away that they were deeply in love. That deep affection for each other was evident in a letter written by Eileen to their patients and friends announcing their retirement in May 2013. 

In honor of Eileen we thought it would be appropriate to republish an excerpt from that note that was posted on CNB on May 14, 2013.

I met Carl at Gloucester City High School when I was 16, Carl was 18. I fell in love with him immediately. He was kind beyond words, and handsome. I admired him and his family.

Carl went to college and my family and I moved away, but I never forgot Carl.

A few years later we moved back to Gloucester City and Carl and I fell in love. Carl went off to medical school in Kansas City, Missouri. In January of Carl's freshmen year of medical school, Carl and I married. We moved to our first apartment in Kansas City in July and began our journey together as husband and wife. And what a wonderful journey it has been.

After graduating from medical school, Carl did his internship at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Stratford,NJ. Upon completion of his internship,  Carl was  stationed in Patterson, NJ by the United States Public Health Service.

On a weekend home to visit with our families, we drove by 526 Monmouth Street, Marie Tedesco's property. It was for rent. Carl and I both loved Gloucester City and the friends, family and people of the city. We both agreed it would be a good spot to open a family practice office.

Needless to say Carl fell in love with everyone and so did I. I worked in the office until our son was born. I met so many cousins I did not know I had. We made so many friends and rekindled friendships from high school and Gloucester in general.

When someone called Carl at home and I answered, they would apologize for calling. Carl and I never minded anyone calling our home when in need. Carl and I love people and understood that. We hoped if one or us or family needed assistance it would be available to us. We enjoyed people,we love everyone.

It is with sadness that Carl has decided to be at home to assist me with my ALS. However, isn't it just like Carl to do what he believes in? Here he goes again putting himself second. I am so blessed to have Carl as my best friend,husband. Carl and I are blessed to have a son who is our best friend and a good son.

So ALS has not only robbed me of my independence, but it has effected my husband and my son's life, as well. And in turn it has effected Carl's patients,friends.

ALS not only devastates it's victims, its impact has a rippling affect that goes on into infinity and impacts countless lives.

Because ALS is rare, progress has been slow in finding a cause, treatments and a cure.

Thank you for your understanding, love, prayers, support, letters, cards, gifts and just being yourselves.

Carl loves you all, and so does Mario and I.

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Besides her husband, she is survived by their son Mario. She is the daughter of Madeline Agnew and the late Joseph P. Underwood. Beloved sister of Faith, Joe, and the late Dan Underwood. She is survived by many loving and caring family and friends. Carl and Mario are deeply appreciative of those who would visit and spend happy times with Eileen in conversation, watching movies, and comforting her. 

Eileen was so loved by many. She touched everyone in her life. She was such a wonderful individual whose departure has left a void in the hearts of many. Eileen was so beautiful inside and out. She was a saint in the eyes of everyone. During her battle with ALS, she was a realist, facing her battle with dignity and grace, never feeling sorry for herself and thankful that It was she with this disease and not her family. 

Eileen devoted her life to her husband and son. It is with great sadness she is no longer here; the only compensation is that she is no longer suffering. Eileen used facial recognition software to communicate when ALS took her ability to use her hands. Here is a quote she posted on Twitter: "ALS cannot rob my capacity to love and appreciate, nor can it take my spirit that believes life is beautiful. Every day on earth is a gift". We will always have you in our hearts. 

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend her viewing on Friday, May 6 from 9:30 AM to 12 Noon at Saint Mary’s R.C. Church: 426 Monmouth Street, Gloucester City. Mass of Christian Burial 12:30 pm in the Church.

Parking for viewing and Mass will be at the nearby Gloucester City Municipal parking lot.  McCann-Healey staff will be assisting those attending the services. Entombment New Saint Mary’s Mausoleum, Bellmawr.   

Donations respectfully requested to the ALS Hope Foundation:  www.alshf.org and clicking on Tribute Gift “In memory of Eileen B. Vitola or by mail: ALS Hope Foundation: 1333 Race Street, Suite 202, P.O. Box 40777, Philadelphia, PA 19107– 0777. Please write in memo: Eileen B. Vitola. 

Condolences and Memories may be shared at www.mccannhealey.com under the obituary of Eileen B. Underwood Vitola. Funeral Arrangements and Inquiries may be made through McCANN-HEALEY FUNERAL HOME: 851 Monmouth Street, Gloucester City. PH: 856-456-1142.

*WHAT IS ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment – "No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.