NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Frances “Fran” Catherine Elia, age 93, passed away peacefully on May 29, 2016 at United Hebrew Geriatric Center, a deeply caring and loving community in New Rochelle, surrounded by her family. Fran was born on December 16, 1922 in Pelham, NY to Joseph and Mary (Santiserio) Mirabelli. She is predeceased by her beloved husband of 62 years, David Elia of Bronx, NY. They were married on May 26, 1945 at Saint Catherine’s Church in Pelham, NY. She is also predeceased by her sister Mary (Frank) DeCarlo, and by her brothers Joseph (Ellie) and Frank (Sally) Mirabelli.
She is survived by three children, a son Richard Elia, and two daughters Noelle Elia and Maureen (Lucretia) Elia, four grandchildren, Marissa (Rachel) Quaranta, Luke (Joan) Quaranta, Daniel (Heather) Quaranta, and Kate (Ruben) Mercado, 5 great-grandchildren, Simone, Naomi, Ciel, and Talia Quaranta and Benicio Mercado, many nieces and nephews, a sister-in-law, Violet Sica, a few cousins and countless friends.
Fran was born and raised in her father’s tailor shop in Pelham, NY. She was an athlete her whole life, and was captain of the Pelham Memorial High School field hockey team in the 1930’s. She was on bowling leagues and played golf into her senior years, especially during the 30 years she lived in Crystal River, Florida. She always said “You really get to know someone when you play competitive sports with them.”
Fran was socially conscious, and open minded. Throughout her life, she prioritized making the world at large or her neighborhood, a stronger community. Her activism spanned the years in both New York and Florida. She was a lifelong volunteer who truly believed “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.” Fran made friends effortlessly wherever she went, including at her last home, United Hebrew. Her acceptance of people for exactly who they are and her sense of humor, facilitated this knack.
She and her husband made their homes warm inviting spaces where everyone was always welcomed, well fed, and where you were bound to have fun. Her very happy marriage was her most cherished achievement, admired by many. She and her husband shared their secret with many couples, in their work with the Catholic Church’s Pre-Cana program for engaged couples.
Wake services will be held at Pelham Funeral Home, 64 Lincoln Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803, from 4pm to 8pm on Wednesday, June 1st. Funeral services will be held at St. Catherine’s Roman Catholic Church, 25 second Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803, on Thursday June 2nd at 10:00am. Interment is at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.
The best way to honor Fran’s memory is to make donations in Frances Elia’s name to: The New Rochelle High School of Religion (RELIG) 112 Division Street, New Rochelle, NY 10801.