Eleanor Edith Guzzi DelPo was born on January 21, 1931 in Newton, MA, on January 21, 1931, to Joseph Guzzi and Anne AltieriGuzzi.
Eleanor Edith Guzzi DelPo died Saturday, November 26, 2016, from complications due to Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 85 years old.
After graduating from high school in 1948, she attended the Newton-Wellesly Hospital School of Nursing, graduating in 1952. The granddaughter of Italian immigrants, she was the first person in her family to attend college, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (magna cum laude) from Boston University in 1955 and Masters of Science degree in 1958. As a nurse, Eleanor focused on the most vulnerable populations — children and the mentally ill. She worked tirelessly for the care and dignity of these groups her entire professional life.
Eleanor taught nursing at several schools, including the University of Arizona and the University of South Carolina. She was a tough but passionate teacher. At USC, she received several teaching awards, including Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher of the Year in 1995. Eleanor retired from USC in 1996 with the honorable designation of Professor Emeritus. Eleanor’s impact can still be felt in South Carolina, where thousands of her students continue to care for patients. In recent years, when Eleanor herself became ill, her former students were often her nurses. During one hospital stay, a stream of nurses dropped by her room and marveled that the famous “Professor DelPo” was there.
In 1958, Eleanor met the love of her life, Raymond Mario DelPo, and they married in 1959. They shared a passion for ideas, politics, music, family, and the outdoors. They loved to travel across the country, camping along the way. Among their many adventures, they drove to the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962, rafted down the Colorado River, hiked in the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon, and walked hand in hand along beaches on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. They also shared a commitment to helping others. Eleanor’s kindness touched many.
Eleanor loved her native Boston, the ocean, her family, children, and good, thick books. Every Thanksgiving, she made more than a dozen pies, something her children’s friends remember fondly. In retirement, she volunteered at a local health clinic, traveled with her husband, walked every morning, knitted countless baby blankets, and laughed over cups of coffee with neighbors and friends. She was the best sort of grandmother — the kind who got down on the floor and played tirelessly for hours. She taught her grandchildren all manner of useful things, such as how to bake bread and plant flowers and play dominoes.
Eleanor first showed signs of Alzheimer’s Disease about 10 years ago, and the last years of her life were often difficult and painful. She always knew her husband and children, however, and she radiated love for them up to the end. The family would like to thank the many friends and neighbors and nursing aides who cared for her during her final years.
Eleanor leaves behind by her husband, Raymond, and two children: a son, Luke DelPo, and his partner, Debbie Handy, of Smith Mountain Lake, VA; and a daughter, Amy DelPo, and her husband, Paul Means, of Denver, CO. She is also survived by three grandchildren on her daughter’s side: Sophia Means, Charlie Means, and Lucy Means, of Denver, CO. On her son’s side, she leaves behind a granddaughter, Stephanie (Handy) Burton, of Glade Hill, VA, and great-granddaughters Lauren Wood and Jenna Burton. She is survived by two brothers: Arthur Guzzi of Medford, NJ, and Edward Guzzi of San Francisco, CA. She also leaves behind two dear childhood friends, Evelyn (Hornstein) Shaw, of Tucson, AZ, and Jill (Rosemond) Klee, of Beverly, MA.
Eleanor was preceded in death by her sister, Joanne (Guzzi) Perkins, of Southboro, MA.
A funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Camden on
Saturday, December 3, at 11:00 AM. Reception in the church hall followed.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, people donate to the charity of their choice, keeping in mind Eleanor’s lifelong commitment to caring for all people, especially children, people suffering from mental illness, and anyone less fortunate than themselves.
Kornegay Funeral Home, Camden Chapel, was in charge of the arrangements.