Got It All

Jane Milza dies at 87. The Advance food editor scoured the borough – and the world – for a good food story. –

Jane Milzastaten island advance
Jane Clare Tierney Milza, 87, of Grasmere, retired food and wine editor of the Staten Island Advance, and a 2015 Advance Woman of Achievement, passed away Thursday, Nov. 25.
Jane was born on April 8, 1934 in Bayonne, N.J., to Edward A. Tierney and Mildred Tierney. She is survived by her loving husband, Edward F. Milza, and children: Clare Fennell (Bill Fennell), Carrie Milza (Dr. Scott Dax), Edward Milza, Rob Tierney and Stephen Milza, and her grandchildren: Elizabeth Fennell, Gregory Fennell, 1stLt Andrew Fennell, USMC, Kristy Dax, Eric Dax, Emma Dax, and Abigail Milza, and her mother, Donna Milza.
She is predeceased by her siblings, Mary Ernst, Ann Murphy, Edward Tierney, James Tierney, Thomas Tierney and Mildred Rolls.
Jane and Ed were married April 27, 1957.Staff-Shot
Jane was an active St. Sylvester R.C. Church parishioner for more than 80 years, where she served as a member of the Parish Council. She was a graduate of St. Joseph Hill Academy, Grasmere, received a bachelor’s degree in English from the former Notre Dame College, Grymes Hill, and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from St. John’s University, Queens.
Principal Angela Ferrando, Sister William McGovern and commencement speaker Jane Milza sing the National Anthem to start the St. Joseph Hill Academy commencement ceremony Friday, June 5, 2015. (Staten Island Advance/Bill Lyons) Staff-Shot
She began her nearly 50-year career at the Staten Island Advance as a college student, where she initially worked on the social desk. As food and wine editor for 33 years, she expanded the section significantly during her tenure.
Her work was syndicated nationally via the Newhouse News Service and afforded her the opportunity to travel extensively, reporting on food, wine and culture throughout the world. She enjoyed interviewing and reporting on the cultural fare of Staten Island home cooks, as well as world-renowned published chefs.
“Staten Island has lost a beautiful soul,” said Advance Publisher Caroline Harrison. “Jane was a cherished member of the Advance family for almost 50 years, and was at the top of her profession among food writers. She knew everyone and everyone knew her. She could tell you the best spot in San Francisco or New Orleans . . . or Rosebank,” the publisher noted.
“Her knowledge of food spanned the country, but she always had Staten Island at heart. She went above and beyond for our community, especially in the work she did for people with disabilities, which brought her the well-deserved Woman of Achievement recognition. At this time of Thanksgiving, I am filled with gratitude to have called Jane a dear friend to me and my family for so many years. My thoughts are with Ed and the family. We will all miss this wonderful woman.”
French-born chef, author, culinary educator, television personality, and artist Jacques Pepin and Jane Milza at The James Beard Awards ceremony held at the NY Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
During her time working at the Staten Island Advance, Jane was awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Newspaper Editor of the Year Award, the Brooks Foundation writing award and was recognized by professional organizations such as the Association of Food Journalists. Her professional affiliations included board membership in the New York chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier, the New York Newswomen’s Club, the Association of Food Journalists and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She was invited to serve as a judge for the Pillsbury Bake-Off on two occasions.
“For young women growing up on Staten Island in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Jane was a role model and a trailblazer,” noted Pamela Silvestri, current Advance/ food editor, who assumed the role upon Jane’s retirement.
“She was meticulous and gracious in her words. In a world of mostly male voices in the culinary world, here was our very own living food legend in the borough,” said Silvestri. “Her legacy of well-written stories chronicling the borough’s evolving restaurant and market scene gives insight into her knowledge of Italian eats. Yet she really was a well-travelled expert on food and wine in general with the talent to write on any topic with accuracy and authority.”
In 2015, Jane was named a Woman of Achievement by the Staten Island Advance in recognition of her civic contributions.
Inductee Jane Milza is presented with a sterling silver Tiffany bowl from Advance Publisher Caroline Harrison at the 2015 Advance Women of Achievement awards luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn. (Staten Island Advance/Anthony DePrimo) Staff-Shot
Honnoree Jane Milza and Borough President James Oddo on the dais at the Women of Achievement 2015. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel) Staff-Shot
Inspired by her son, Stephen, who has special needs, Jane served as an advocate for adults and children with disabilities for more than 20 years, serving as a board member of Community Resources, the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, the Staten Island Center for Independent Living, and as a member of the Borough President’s Committee for People with Disabilities, the Parent Support Group of A Very Special Place and a founding member of the Staten Island Parents of Hearing Impaired.
Jane gets a thumbs up from her son, Stephen, with husband Edward and Executive Editor Brian Laline. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel) Staff-Shot
Jane lent her expertise to numerous food-related fundraisers on Staten Island, benefiting organizations such as the Staten Island Heart Society, served as co-chair of the Eger Health Care Center’s Taste of Staten Island, and co-founded the Community Resources’ Pasta Bowl. She served as president of the Notre Dame College Alumnae Association of St. John’s University. Jane was also an associate of St. Joseph Hill Academy, Daughters of Divine Charity, and in 2014 she was on the planning board for the Centennial Celebration of the Daughters of Divine Charity.
One of Jane’s most lasting contributions was the Advance Cookbook contest, which she grew and developed from a homegrown contest to one that featured celebrity chefs. Budding superstars like Lydia Bastianich and others spotlighted by the James Beard Society, in which she was very active, were her contemporaries. Her writing helped grow their brands and fanbases.
“Jane can very much take credit for laying the groundwork for others’ superstardom,” Silvestri said.
“It was impossible to travel around Staten Island and not bump into someone who knew Jane, or her work,” said Advance/ Executive Editor Brian Laline. “Her reach into so many pockets of our community was vast. Our careers dovetailed and I watched her cover everything from social happenings, to news of our special needs communities, to coordinating our high school teen correspondents, to food, of course. So many of us learned so much from this incredible journalist.”
In 2014, Jane petitioned the New York City Council to erect street signage declaring the intersection of West Fingerboard and Clove roads in Grasmere as Edward A. Tierney Sr. Corner, recognizing her father, a WWI veteran, and her family’s four generations of military service and volunteer work in the community.
Son James F. Tierney, daughter Jane Milza and grandson, Navy Comander Brian J. Hillers, hold the sign during a ceremony naming the corner of Fingerboard and Clove the Edward A. Tierney Sr. Corner in 2014. (Staten Island Advance/Bill Lyons) Staff-Shot
These accomplishments would not have been possible without the loving support of her husband and family.
Visitation will be Sunday, Nov. 28 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 29 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Casey Funeral Home, 350 Slosson Ave. Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Sylvester R.C. Church, 854 Targee St. Burial will be in Moravian Cemetery.
Jane Milza, seated right, with her fellow Women of Achievement 2015. Back row, Josephine Cupo, Carol Dunn, guest speaker Linda Fairstein, Dr. Carrie Robiinson, Araceli Arizmendi. Seated is Mary Shalo and Jane. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel) Staff-Shot
Jane Milza at the 2008 Cookbook Taste-off at the Hilton Garden Inn. Judges that year included, left to right, Philip Campanella, Vittorio Asoli of Trattoria Romana in Dongan Hills, Sandy Ingber and Tom Mauro of Grymes Hill. STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
Eleanor Conforti, a 1977 Women of Achievement, at the 2015 Women of Achievement awards luncheon with Jane. (Staten Island Advance/Bill Lyons) Staff-Shot
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