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Carmela “Mel” Astemborski Reeve was welcomed into God’s loving arms on December 31, 2023. She was 60 years old. She was born September 10, 1963 in Willingboro, New Jersey and grew up in Beverly. Carmela was the youngest of six siblings and was the self-proclaimed “favorite child” to her father Joseph and “favorite sister” to her brother Domenic. There may be some validity to her claims, as she was the only sibling to have a wall mounted plaque of herself prominently displayed in the family home for over 30 years.
Carmela found her calling early in life, when she attended Burlington County Vocational High School, focusing in Cosmetology. It was here that she met the love of her life, Russell, who she was married to for 39 years. Mel has missed Russ every day since his recent passing in October.
Her passion as a hairstylist lasted throughout her entire career. Staying close to her roots and her loyal clients, the majority of her time was spent in Burlington. For the last 6 years, she worked side by side with her dear friend Sonya at Silhouette Hair Design. A running joke at the salon was the time Mel became a real life “Baby Jessica” by falling into the well outside the shop. Unfortunately for Mel, she didn't need to be rescued by a hot fireman. Over the years, she made many lifelong friends that she considered family. Referring to herself as an underpaid therapist, she would offer up parenting and marital advice. If you took said advice, and it ended poorly, she didn't offer refunds.
Mel enjoyed hanging out poolside, cooking and spending time with family and friends. She was a devoted fan of the Eagles and Phillies, frequently yelling at the TV while on the phone with her sister Carole. Her love of sports was only rivaled by her affection for her late husband Russ and her two fur babies, Rusty and Hank.
Like a true Astemborski, she had no filter. She was always there to lend an ear, a hand or point out when your color needed a touch up. She was the first to hand out compliments, but also first to point out that pimple you unsuccessfully tried to conceal. If you told her you hated your haircut in a fit of teenage angst or if she mistakenly took off your entire eyebrow while waxing she never forgot it. In fact, she would jokingly bring it up at every hair appointment.
Carmela had a sense of humor that was unmatched. At the salon she could be heard saying “You think that hurt? Wait til I wax your upper lip” followed by her signature laugh. She would joke with her brother Domenic that whoever is married the longest would get the elusive “family money”. The joke went on for so many years it’s likely they started to believe the "family money" actually existed. Unfortunately, we have confirmed that it did not.
If you were lucky enough to sit in her chair, she was likely a part of a major event in your life. Making sure that whatever the reason, you walked out feeling your very best. If you came in as a stranger, you left as a friend. Always calling others “Sunshine”, she was the one who brought light, laughter and happiness to those she met. Thank you for years of making everyone feel special and loved, you will be dearly missed.
Carmela was predeceased by her parents, Joseph Astemborski, Sr. and Catharine “Liz” Yannarella Astemborski, as well as her brother Domenic Astemborski (Ruth) and her loving husband Russell. She is survived by her loving siblings: Carole Astemborski, Joseph Astemborski, Eva Blow and Cathy Emma (Ron), In laws William and Edna Reeve, brother in laws William (Diane) and John (Dan) fur babies Rusty and Hank, and many nieces, nephews, friends, and loved ones.
Carmela will be remembered for her kindness, laughter and most importantly her no BS-tell it like it is attitude. In an attempt to stay in Mel’s good graces, we promise to NOT ever have the Astemborski Family Christmas party at a pizza place.
Services will be held Friday, January 5, 2024 from 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m at Page Funeral Home, 302 East Union Street, Burlington NJ. Please make sure your hair looks good. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Burlington County Animal Shelter, Westampton, NJ in Carmela’s memory.