Caterina Malara

Caterina Malara

November 11, 1935 – March 12, 2023

VISITATION: Sunday, March 19th, 2pm, followed by a 4pm VIGIL at Christ the King Catholic Church, 654 S. 86th St.

MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Monday, March 20th, 10am, at Christ the King Catholic Church.

Interment: Holy Sepulchre

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

To view a live broadcast of the Vigil and Mass, please visit and press the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the homepage.

Caterina Malara, 87, entered into eternal rest on March 12, 2023, surrounded by her loving family. She was born on November 11, 1935, in Reggio Calabria, Italy. After marrying her childhood love Luigi in 1953, they moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and welcomed their first three daughters: Carmen, Maria, and Gracie. During their time in Argentina, they owned a small bakery and lived close to Luigi’s family. Caterina and her growing family immigrated to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1964 to care for her mother, Maria Baldanza. Shortly after arriving in Omaha, their fourth daughter, Anna, was born. Tragedy struck the young family when Luigi died and left Caterina to raise four girls by herself. Caterina became the sole provider for her daughters and vowed to do everything it took to keep her family together.

She was immensely talented in the kitchen and as a seamstress. She sold homemade frozen raviolis and pasta out of her basement and made her daughters’ wedding dresses. With her strong will and determination, her dream became reality when she opened her own restaurant in 1984. Daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren were willing and able to waitress and bartend, pass out sausages and pizza at Summer Arts Festivals, and so much more. Since then, the Malara family has grown to include the special generation of great-grandchildren who Nani loves exponentially.

One thing has always remained important and constant in Caterina’s life: family.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Luigi Malara; mother, Maria Baldanza; and daughter Carmen Rotella.

She is survived by daughters: Maria Szablowski, Gracie Benak, and Anna Ruzicka; sons-in-law: James (Becky) Rotella, Richard Szablowski, Ron Benak, and Kevin Ruzicka; grandchildren: Rocky (Jen) Rotella, Nina (Rob) Fox, Gina Rotella, Angela (Greg) Christensen, Ashley (Hector) Gomez, Amanda (Chase) Couture, Ricky (Gretchen) Szablowski, Alex (Paul) Kuta, Timothy Benak, Kevin Ruzicka, Emma (Samuel) Szablowski; great-grandchildren: Giovanni, Sebastian, Nathalia, and Gabriella Gomez; Sofia and Rocco Rotella; Sam and Gigi Fox; Dominic and Carmela Christensen; Isabella, Everleigh, and Gianna Kuta; and Willow Couture.


  • G. Scalise families , Mariuzza , Frank , Julie Posted March 15, 2023 8:36 am

    We are going to miss her so much . Our deepest condolences to all of you. Her love for all of us will be in our hearts forever. May God give you all the strength that you need during this time .

  • Bartolomei Posted March 15, 2023 10:47 am

    Our deepest condolences to the Malara family. There are many fond memories to reflect back on, may the Lord watch over her and the entire family.

  • Linda Fuller Posted March 15, 2023 10:52 am

    Mrs. Malara was a great friendly and loving woman. She loved her family and her friends. She was my moms neighbor for many years. She will be missed Love and prayers to her and the family!!

  • Curtis, Michelle, Amelia, Samantha and Andrew Babb Posted March 15, 2023 1:16 pm

    Condolences to all the Malara family. Nani was loved by many. she will always be with you! May the lord give you all the strength you need and may he watch over all of you during this time. We love you all ! We are thinking of you all

  • Sue &Tim Posted March 15, 2023 4:44 pm

    To say she’ll be missed is an understatement.💔 Your Nani, my besties mom, was loved by so many. 🥰Anyone who was lucky enough to eat in her dining room was probably lucky enough to have met her and know that her love and energy were endless! 🤗
    My heart is broken for her family, but what a blessing she was to everyone. You all have been left with a beautiful legacy. ❤️
    Hugs and prayers to the Malara family!

  • Adrienne Thompson Posted March 15, 2023 4:53 pm

    So very sorry for the loss of your dear Mother. she raised an excellent family. God bless each & every one of you.

  • Michael Albanese Posted March 15, 2023 5:55 pm

    My deepest condolences and prayers to the Malara family for the loss of Caterina. I will always remember her fondly as a kind and loving person.

  • Cheryle Pettit Keller-Lakin Posted March 15, 2023 6:02 pm

    Mrs. Malara was the most wonderful woman I’ve ever met. She watch my son Bobby from the ages of 2 to 5 & taught him how to cook & his career in the restaurant business is because of her. Carmen was a great friend riding the bus home from school & walking down 22nd street cutting through the yard to get to her home on 21st. My prayers are w/Anna, Gracie & Maria & their families – Your Mother was an “Angel on Earth”

  • Mary Duffy Posted March 15, 2023 6:39 pm

    To the Fox and Szablowski families. So sorry for the loss of your beautiful mother.
    Kevin, Mary Duffy and family

  • ANTHONY & CHERYL KOZIOL Posted March 15, 2023 7:57 pm

    What a wonderful lady, I was blessed to pray with her and bring her Holy Communion during her stay at the UN Med Center. The Lord is with her now.

  • Leo Famiglia Posted March 15, 2023 8:46 pm

    Our deepest sympathy to your big beautiful family. She helped our family and we never forgot her generosity and love. We have many warm memories, She will be missed and holds a special place in our hearts. Prayers and love to you all. AnnaMaria, Giulia, Carmen, Emma, Rose, Angie, and Chuck.

  • Leo Famiglia Posted March 15, 2023 9:40 pm

    May she rest in peace for all eternity 🙏❤️!
    Our families were so blessed to grow up in the best neighborhood. All the love and laughter that we shared together was due to many, and the Malara’s were a huge part of our lives. Our sincere condolences to each and everyone of you. She was a beautiful soul.🙏!

  • John J. Fatte Posted March 16, 2023 8:44 am

    Our sincerest condolences for your loss. She was truly an inspiration to her family and all that knew her.

  • Paul Cullen Posted March 16, 2023 9:53 am

    My deepest sympathy to the entire Malara family. Mrs. Malara treated us like we were one of her own. The sweetest and hardest working lady you would ever want to meet. May she rest in peace.

  • Ruth Hashberger and Jeremy Hashberger Posted March 16, 2023 5:20 pm

    We are sending are deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved her. She was An amazing woman and Omaha legend.

  • Davis’ Posted March 16, 2023 7:12 pm

    An angel, she will be missed. Our family hurts for you and we pray God’s comfort.

  • Larry Kleinlein Posted March 17, 2023 6:11 am

    Our deepest condolences go to the family. What a legacy your mother was always could see it in her smile her hugs and your kind words. She was a great mother you could tell how she raised your family to be wonderful people. We all know that heaven received a new angel. Mama lots of cheesecake in heaven

  • Janet Richardson-Whitson Posted March 17, 2023 8:38 am

    My deepest sympathy to the Malara family. My late husband, Bill and I spent many, many wonderful evenings in your restaurant. Your whole family embraced us and I have lovely memories of Caterina. Rest In Peace

  • Gina Kuster Posted March 17, 2023 2:27 pm

    Sending my deepest condolences to the family. Thinking of you Gracie and Ron🙏🙏🙏

  • Sammi Centretto Posted March 17, 2023 10:22 pm

    My heart is with you and your family. She was such a wonderful women. Growing up my grandma, Lore Centretto and dad, Sam Centretto would take us to eat there. Such great memories.

  • Debra A HOVORKA Posted March 18, 2023 11:59 am

    My condolences and prayers to her family. She was an amazing woman and her cooking was awesome. May our Almighty Father bestow upon you HiS strength as you endure your loss. CONTINUED Blessings. In Jesus Name,
    Fondly, Debra

  • Horacio Aguirre Posted March 19, 2023 1:19 pm

    She was a great lady with a golden heart, caring, loving, generous and successful.
    We are going to miss her.

  • Frank Cerone Posted March 19, 2023 2:19 pm

    I am so sorry. I will miss you. You were always good to me, always trying to feed me when I delivered your bread. Rest well, Mama Malara.

  • Karen Lehman Posted March 21, 2023 3:48 pm

    My heartfelt deepest sympathy for the loss of your Beloved Mother, and Nani. Caterina was such a Beautiful Person, with an abundance of Kindness, Generosity, Integrity, and Love! My family and I, along with so so many others have been Deeply Blessed to have known her, and share her Friendship, Grace, and Virtues. She’s left us with so many happy memories. I’ll miss her Wonderful Welcoming Beautiful Smile! She will always be in our hearts! May Faith and Loving Memories help sustain you through the difficult times to come. Sending you all love and prayers.

  • Christina Gramps -Dukes Posted April 7, 2023 9:07 am

    Maria Szalblowski and Nina Fox, I am sorry I just heard this news. The loss of your mother breaks my heart ❤️ She was truly a wonderful woman just like all of you. We have had so many celebrations and just because it was Ssturday visits with all of you at Malara’s. I am so triglycerides sorry for your loss. May she rest in peace and now my mom and her can visit. I can’t express enough how much your family has meant to our family. Fond memories I’ll cherish forever. May you find peace and know that your all loved and respected 🙏 ❤️ with deepest sympathy to you and the family. May the lord watch over you in this time of great sadness. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

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