In Memory of





Obituary for Barbara Jean Gelato (Jankowski)

Barbara Jean Gelato (nee Jankowski), age 81, of Mount Laurel, formerly of Cinnaminson, passed away on December 26, 2023. 

Barbara is preceded in death by her parents, Aloysius and Genevieve Jankowski. She is survived by her loving husband of 38 years, Victor Gelato; her children Daniel Poore (Claudia), Denise Stonehouse (William), David Poore (Rochelle), Shari Escott (Bryan), Andrea Aulicino (Joseph); her brother Joseph Jankowski (Elizabeth); grandchildren Monica, Nicholas, Casey, Kelly, Stephanie, Zachary, David, and Christopher; and three great grandchildren.

A viewing will be held on Thursday, January 4th from 5pm to 7pm at Mount Laurel Home for Funerals. A funeral mass will be held on Friday, January 5th at 11am at Our Lady of Good Counsel. Interment will follow at Lakeview Cemetery in Cinnaminson.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Barbara’s memory to Moorestown Visiting Nurses ( or Samaritan Hospice (

Below is her personally authored obituary.


“I was born in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Before I could walk, my dad had me stand on top of his shoes teaching me how to do the Polka. We danced the Polka in the living room every Sunday after Church waiting for Mom to make breakfast.

I went to St. Laurentious School in Fishtown, then to Hallahan High School and learned to play the flute. I was taught by Mr. Brillia of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Music Nun at Hallahan was not happy at all when I announced that my family was moving to New Jersey after my Freshman year. Riverside High School welcomed me as an orchestra flute player and also a piccolo player in the marching band. They were truly “Happy Days”. I met and dated my High School Sweetheart. I graduated in 1960. In 1961, I entered a Polka contest with my brother in our local church. We won there and then went to the finals at St. Joseph’s Parish in Camden for the title of South Jersey Polka Queen. Of course, I won. It was pretty cool. Here I was, a 19 year old, South Jersey Polka Queen and the head of the Pulaski Day Parade wearing my beautiful gown, riding in a convertible, waving to my fans. I will never forget it.

Then in 1962, I married my high school sweetheart. A year later, we had son #1. Almost 2 years later, we had daughter #1 and then 2 ½ years after her, we had son #2. By the time I was 25, I had 3 little children. My husband was going to work in Philly and then Camden while going to Drexel each night for his Engineering Degree. Once he got it, 6 years later, he started traveling with other jobs. We tried to keep up with him. Moving to Virginia, Maryland, back to NJ and almost Brazil. We drifted apart with every move. And in 1978 we separated and divorced in 1979.

I went to work for Haines Buick and then Auto Sun Roof as an Office Manager, where 4 years later, I met Vic, our new salesman. We married in 1985. In 1991, I had breast cancer and had a mastectomy followed by 6 months of chemo. It was a very difficult time in my life. Two years later, Vic and I started our own business. We owned it for 14 years. It was called Restylers Warehouse and we sold auto accessories to dealerships in the Tri-State area.

During this time, I joined a Bridge Club called the Bridgettes. We played once a month for about 40 years. I also played Pinochle with a group for about 30 years. I also volunteered with the Moorestown Visiting Nurses in Moorestown, as a Thank You for caring for my Mother when she was in Hospice.

After moving to Mount Laurel from Cinnaminson, I retired and needed to participate in something really cool. I heard about the Red Hat Organization and joined our group about 17 years ago. Fourteen years ago, I became your Queen. Since I am used to being a Queen, the transition was easy. Ha! Ha! I loved all the planning that went into the “Unmeetings” and all the luncheons and activities. I hope you appreciate all the hard work it takes to make the Rambunctious Gals of Mount Laurel, the best Chapter there ever was.

Then I volunteered at our HVE Community 1st as a member of the Welcome Committee, then to the Indoor Committee for several years. Now, since I live on Chickory Drive, the Chicks get together monthly for lunch as well as the Indoor Committee each month at various restaurants. I also play Rummikub and Dominoes with a great group of HVE gals.

My husband fell ill in November, 2019 and got a severe concussion with blood on the brain. Ever since then he suffers from Vascular Dementia and will till the end.

I thank God every day for all you wonderful friends."