Former New York governor Mario Cuomo has passed away at the age of 82 years old, leaving behind a huge family in addition to many supporters of him over the years. Cuomo had been married to wife Matilda for over sixty years and she is, with no doubt, devastated by the loss of her husband. Read on for all the details on the life-long couple’s marriage, their life together, and the woman who supported a powerful man in office.
1. Matilda Met Her Husband In Law School
Former Governor Mario Cuomo and wife Matilda were together over six decades before he passed away. NY Mag reported on Matilda’s schooling and how she met her husband Mario Cuomo in school:
She was accepted at Columbia Teachers College, Brooklyn College, and Hunter. Her older brothers were concerned about her safety in traveling to and from Manhattan, however, and they insisted that she go to the teachers’ college at St. John’s, where Sam attended law school. In 1951, Matilda Raffa met Mario Cuomo, who was two years behind her brother at the law school.
2. She Has Five Children With Husband Cuomo
Matilda and husband Mario Cuomo had five children together – Andrew, Maria, Margaret, Madeline, and Christopher. Chris is currently a television journalist for CNN. Matilda’s son Andrew was married to Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, for about fifteen years. Andrew is actually the current governor of New York, following in the footsteps of his father. Andrew was sworn into his second-term in office just six hours before his father passed away. Daughter Maria Cuomo Cole is married to famous fashion designer Kenneth Cole and daughter Margaret is an American radiologist, author, philanthropist, advocate, and blogger on health issues.
3. Mario Cuomo Had a Career In Baseball Which Helped Him Purchase His Engagement Ring To Wife Matilda
Mario Cuomo wasn’t all about politics. He actually has a background in baseball and used his earnings to pay for his engagement ring for wife Matilda. It was reported:
Cuomo was a baseball player, and while attending St. John’s University in 1952 he signed as an outfielder with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a $2,000 bonus, which he eventually used to help purchase the engagement ring for his wife, Matilda. He played for the Brunswick Pirates until he was struck in the back of the head by a pitch. (At the time batting helmets were not required equipment.)
4. Matilda’s Had a Very Public Feud With Her Brother Sam
Because Matilda had always helped as a key player in her husband’s political successes, it caused tension between her and her lesser-known attorney brother Sam Raffa. When Matilda’s father died in 1988, a huge feud broke out over the will. NY Mag reported:
Matilda Cuomo, 57, joined by her younger brother and sister, is challenging the validity of the will, which leaves her $700,000 before taxes (under the high estimate) and names her brother Sam as executor of the estate. In court papers, Ms. Cuomo has accused Sam Raffa of being “untrustworthy,” and she has sought to question him about the disappearance of a $100,000 trust fund that her father had set up for her.
A source added:
She felt what Sam was doing was wrong, and she made up her mind to go all the way. I don’t think [the governor] had much to do with the decision.
Sources have stated that Matilda’s brother Sam was always jealous of Mario Cuomo, which initially caused issues with his sister.
5. She Founded the Child Advocacy Group Mentoring USA
Matilda is the founder of the Child Advocacy Group Mentoring USA and daughter Maria is actually an associate of the organization. The organization describes itself as this:
Mentoring USA, founded by Matilda Cuomo, is a NYC based non-profit within the @HELPUSA umbrella of services that changes young people’s lives through mentoring.
The message behind the cause is to empower children and help them realize their dreams.