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Helen Dorothy Andersen CROCE (d. 10.7.2006)

[San Mateo County Obit Board]

Posted by Newspaper Transcriber on Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 18:03:28 :

Helen Dorothy Andersen Croce

November 28, 1915 - October 7, 2006.

A Coastside resident for the past 5 years, Helen was born in Bronx, New York to Alexander Emanuel Anderson and Martha Elizabeth (Johnson) Anderson, both Swedish immigrants. She was 90 when she passed away, after a year long hospitalization at Seaton Coastside. Helen married Frank Joseph Croce on January 11, 1939; they were married 41 years when he passed away 26 years ago. Helen was born, raised, married and lived in the Bronx, New York into her mid 70's. She was a first generation American and very proud of it. Her husband, Frank Croce, was a first generation Italian. At the time of their marriage it was very controversial to the families, particularly to the Italian side, who wanted Frank to marry a "good Italian girl." There are stories of Helen's Italian mother-in-law chasing Frank down the street with a cast iron skillet yelling "You won't marry that Swede!"

Until the very last few years of her life, she was an avid reader and always had a book with her. She was very involved and an activist in successfully getting a library built in her Bronx neighborhood. She always had a strong empathy with any underdog and was quick to take action if she felt anyone being taken advantage of. When she worked in an administrative position, she signed her letters H. Croce, so they wouldn't know she was a woman and so they "would take her more seriously." Into her 70's she was written up in her local paper for calling public officials and policies to task. She frequently worked to make sure others weren't taken advantage of and demanded accountability for actions. At 85, she told her daughter-in-law that she had two wishes before she died: to skydive and to take a motorcycle ride! The skydiving did not occur, but she took her first motorcycle ride at 86 years of age! Her rebellious and often cantankerous spirit was with her to the end.

Helen would never do what others wanted her to do (including her children or her doctors), or thought she should do, just because they thought she should, or because it was proper. Everything from what clothes she wore to her religious beliefs had a rebellious edge. In her later life, she appeared a sweet little lady but could cuss like a sailor if she didn't get through in any other way. She loved people. She loved watching people and talking to anyone she met. She would learn their life story and where they had traveled. She spent a month on the Coastside each year with her son and his wife, until she moved here permanently (in 2001). Each year, in that one month she was here, she would meet more people than most of us meet in 2 years. She participated in the senior center here, formed friendships and was welcomed back each year when she returned. Even after she could not get around well, her friend and caretaker, Hilda Garcia, would bring her to the NSA (No Strings Attached) Saturday Morning breakfast. Helen loved this eclectic mix of people each week. She also loved a great cup of coffee and, if it could be had with a blueberry muffin, corn muffin, or blueberry pancakes, she was delighted. She liked things simple; she didn't like fluff or sparkle. She was always interested in everything and everyone around her.

Helen is survived by her son, Rich Croce, and his wife, Ara, of Montara, California and her daughter, Linda Guarino, and her husband, Bob, of Monroe, Connecticut. She also leaves 6 adult grandchildren, all married, and 10 great-grandchildren.

Helen's funeral will be in Connecticut and she will be buried in the Bronx, next to her husband who preceded her by 26 years. There will be a Coastside Memorial at her son's home in Montara to celebrate her life. Anyone who knew Helen is welcome to drop by Rich's home at 452 third Street on Sunday afternoon, October 29, 2006, between 1-6:00PM (Ph: 650-728-7875). Any donations in Helen's memory should be made to Coastside Seniors for the NSA Community Breakfast (650) 726-9056.
Daughter: Linda Croce Guarino married to Robert Guarino, of Monroe, CT
Granddaughter: Christine (Guarino) married to Greg Disco, of Newton, MA
Great Granddaughter: Julia Disco
Grandson:Rob Guarino married to Sloan Guarino of NY, NY
Son: Richard Croce married to Ara Croce, of Montara, CA
Granddaughter: Tomi Lin Bortolazzo married to Ron Malm, of Mammoth Lakes, CA
Great Grandsons: Randy Malm, Russell Malm
Carolyn Croce Cullins married to Carl Cullins of San Mateo, CA
Great Grandson: Andrew Cullins
Great Granddaughters Nicole Cullins, Kaitlyn Cullins
Grandson: Aaron Bortolazzo married to Yolon Dinelli Bortolazzo of Menlo Park, CA
Great Grandaughters: Janelle Bortolazzo (San Diego State), Trish Bortolazzo
Great Grandson: Matt Bortolazzo
Grandson: Keith Croce, married to April Love Croce of Mt. View, CA
Great Granddaughter: Ashleigh Croce

Half Moon Bay Review and Pescadero Pebble, Wednesday, October 18, 2006

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