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Rose Cipollone’s Memory Kept Alive in Cigarette Liability Case

June 14, 1988

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Rose Cipollone was a teen-ager, fascinated by movie stars and working in a 5-and-10, when she took up smoking in the early 1940s.

She smoked for 40 years. In 1981, she learned that she had lung cancer, and she died in 1984 when she was 58 years old.

But before her death, Mrs. Cipollone and her husband, Antonio, sued the three companies that made the cigarettes she smoked, charging that they were responsible for her disease.

″I was sure that if there was anything that dangerous, that the tobacco people wouldn’t allow it and the government wouldn’t let them″ sell cigarettes, she said.

During the four-month trial that ended in federal court here Monday, Rose’s story was told by her husband and her children, and by herself in pretrial statements read to the jury.

″She was, how you say, friendly, outgoing,″ Cipollone testified. ″She was a beautiful woman.″

She was born Rose DeFrancesco on Dec. 17, 1925, at her parents’ home in New York City’s borough of Queens.

She described herself as a happy child who taught herself to play piano. Another hobby was cutting out movie star pictures and pasting them in a scrapbook.

She met Antonio Cipollone at an open-air opera during a street festival, and they married in 1947 after a chaperoned courtship. They had three children.

Nothing in her life was as miserable as the chemotherapy that followed the diagnosis of lung cancer, Cipollone testified.

″She wanted to live so bad. She didn’t want to think about it,″ he said.

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