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Helene Nolfo

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Helene Nolfo 1915-2010 BENNINGTON, Mrs. Helene (Del Tatto) Nolfo, R.N., 94, of Bennington, Vermont died on Tuesday, July 13, 2010 in Bennington. Burial service was private at Park Lawn Cemetery on July 17th. However, a memorial service will be held at the Second Congregational Church on Hillside Street, on Saturday, September 18th at 3 PM. Helene was born on Jefferson Avenue, Bennington on August 23rd, 1915 to the late Carlo Del Tatto and Elvira Galante Del Tatto who were originally from Spilimbergo, Udine, Italy. Her father, a stonemason, worked in Philadelphia and New York City for about a year after passing thru Ellis Island, then settling in Bennington in 1910 when he was brought to Bennington at the request of Edward Everett to begin overseeing the construction of the Everett Mansion (now Southern Vermont College) in 1911. Within 2 years of his arrival in Bennington, Carlo's girlfriend Elvira arrived from Italy and they were married in New York City upon her arrival. Helene received her education in the local schools and was a graduate of the Bennington High School, class of 1934 where she was known as "Lena". After graduation, she pursued a career in nursing and received her RN training at the Truesdale and Hillcrest Hospital, Pittsfield, MA and Boston City Hospital, Boston, MA. She became an RN in 1937. Moving to Manhattan, Helene joined the nursing staff at the New York Post-Graduate Hospital which later became New York University Bellevue Medical Center. She met her husband Frank in New York when her friend Millie, a fellow nurse was unexpectedly called away for the war effort in 1940. Their first date was to see the musical Hell's-A-Poppin on Broadway ---and they were married on February 21st, 1942. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Astoria, Queens, NY, very near where Frank's four sisters lived with their parents. During her nursing career in New York City at Bellevue, Helene had occasion to have under her care many well-known personalities. One of her most notable patients and a memorable event was J. Paul Getty, who was so impressed with the care she and her staff provided to him that he offered her the choice of several shares of stock in his company or cash While living in New York, Helene, her husband and son Charles traveled to Bennington frequently to visit her parents and siblings. For many years, the summertime became very special to Helene when she became "Auntie Lena" to her eight nieces and nephews as she and her two sisters, Sue and Ada, rented a cabin at Lake Shaftsbury from 2 to 4 weeks. Helene's husband was in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II and taught seamanship and firefighting at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and became the Fire Chief for Manhattan Beach Air Force Station. As an expert in firefighting, Frank was hired to teach firefighting to the crew of the S.S. United States during construction in 1952 and the staff at the opening of Lowery Air Force base and the Air Force Academy in Colorado in 1956. Frank was an instructor at New York State Maritime College at Fort Schuyler when he suffered a fatal heart attack in Lisbon, Portugal in August 1958. Helene and her son moved to Bennington after the death of her husband where she learned to drive and joined the staff of what was then the Putnam Memorial Hospital. Because of her work experience at Bellevue, she was promoted to Head Nurse in the Recovery Room and at various times filled in with the OR and ER. Helene traveled around the state and New England district representing the hospital at many conferences. Instead of retiring at 65 in 1980, she was asked to remain at the hospital and was put in charge of Central Supply officially retiring in 1985 at the age of 70. Helene's return to Bennington also allowed her to renew her ties to the Second Congregation Church where she was a member for just over 80 years. She was a member of the Women?s Fellowship of the Church where she and her mother spent many hours cooking in the kitchen and participating in many fund raising events. As a teenager, she taught Sunday school which she greatly enjoyed. She was a Red Cross Nurse and did volunteer work in New York City and also worked as a volunteer in the local Red Cross in Bennington. Helene was a member of the Putnam Health Care Auxiliary and a member of the Red Lodge, Order of theEastern Star, in Arlington and a member of the American Critical Nurse Association until her retirement and a member of RSVP. She was an initial supporting member of the American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island. She is survived by her son, Charles, a 1962 graduate of Bennington High School and daughter-in-law, Sandra-Ann G. Nolfo of Fairfield, Conn.; three granddaughters; Jessica of New York, Ariane of New York and Marlena Sislian and her husband Ted of Brick, N.J.; a great-grandson Hudson of Brick, NJ; sister-in-law, Eleanor Oliva and her husband, Anthony of Auburndale, Queens, N.Y. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews throughout the Del Tatto-Nolfo family, who knew her as "Aunt Lena." She was pre-deceased by her two sisters, Susan Agostini of Willamstown, Mass., and Ada Tallarico, of North Adams, Mass., and her brother Charles Del Tatto of Manchester, Conn. All of Helene's siblings were graduates of Bennington High School. Susan was in the first graduating class of Bennington College in 1937. Ada pursued a career in business and Charles was a U.S. Army veteran. Helene was an active traveler who visited Europe and the Caribbean several times, including several cruises with her very close friends Ruth Walbridge and Nat Hyland and a long trip through Italy with her sisters. In addition to travel, she loved reading, music, musical theater and films, and art --- especially the singing of Pavarotti, the paintings of Grandma Moses, the poetry of Robert Frost, the many works of Michelangelo, and the Statue of Liberty. Helene, known as "Nanny" by her grandchildren, also loved baking and was famous in the family for her chocolate chip cookie bars, and kept her grandchildren and their friends supplied through summers, high school, college, and their adult years. News of a box of cookie bars from Nanny always led to a crowded desk, doorway, office or room. Helene will be missed by all who knew her. To send the family personal email condolences, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.

Published in Bennington Banner on Sept. 11, 2010
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