Elsie Rivinoja Camilleri, 92, devoted wife of the late Milton (Mickey) Camilleri, former director of drug control for the State of Connecticut, entered into eternal rest on April 5, 2014, with her family by her side.
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Born in Newell, S.D., on July 24, 1921, she was the daughter of the late Reynard and Emmi Rivinoja, immigrants from Finland. She graduated from Newell High School in 1938, graduated from St. John's School of Nursing in 1942, and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy where she honorably served as a lieutenant JG Navy nurse in the Pacific Theater from 1944 to 1946. She was stationed at various U.S. Naval hospitals, including Great Lakes, Ill.; Aiea Heights, Hawaii; and Norfolk, Va., where she met her husband. Elsie and Mickey were married on Nov. 17, 1945, in Hawaii where both were stationed. Following an honorable discharge from the Navy, they lived in South Dakota, then relocated to Hartford, and settled in Manchester in 1952 where they raised their family. Elsie worked as a nurse at Brookings Hospital, S.D., Hartford Hospital, and Manchester Manor for many years until her retirement in 1984. She liked watching UConn Huskies men's basketball, was an avid fan of the Detroit Tigers and also enjoyed gardening and traveling throughout Europe and the United States. She was a communicant of Assumption Church and a member of the Narcotic Enforcement Officers Association and a Charter Member of the Women in Military Service for America. Elsie, with family and close friends, celebrated her 90th birthday in July 2011, a milestone to which she aspired and was proud to have achieved.
She is survived by her three loving daughters and sons-in-law, Marlys and Manuel Huerta of San Antonio, Texas, Donna and Edward DuBaldo; Susan and Robert Healy all of Manchester; five grandchildren, Peter DuBaldo of Manchester, Carmela and Jeffrey Dahms of South Windsor, Nicholas and Noriyo DuBaldo, Travis Healy and Vanessa Healy, all of Manchester. She is also survived by great-grandchildren, Alexis, Riven, Zachary, and Ethan Dahms and a DuBaldo great-grandchild due in June. Elsie leaves her loving niece and nephews, Frances Camilleri Kerrigan, Sebastian Camilleri, Bob and Sue Rivinoja; grandniece Erica Rivinoja and husband, Prince Neelankavil, and their children, Ivan and Elsa; and other grandnieces and grandnephews. She leaves a dear friend, Robin Seabury, who has provided love and support for many years. Besides her husband and parents, she was predeceased by her brother, Ray Rivinoja; brothers-in-law, Anthony Camilleri and Carmelo Vallone; sisters-in-law, Esther Rivinoja, Mary Camilleri, and Sally Vallone; nephew, Michael Rivinoja; and grandnephew, Clark Rivinoja.
She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend whose determination and selflessness were remarkable. She was the center of her family and will be remembered for her strength and courage in overcoming many medical challenges.
Elsie's family would like to thank the staff at The Arbors and Manchester Manor for their exceptional care and support, as well as her physicians who provided kindhearted, expert medical care over the years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Milton and Elsie Camilleri Memorial Scholarship, Manchester Scholarship Foundation, 20 Hartford Road, Manchester, CT 06040.
Funeral services will be held on April 8, at 9:15 a.m. at the Tierney Funeral Home, 219 W. Center St., Manchester, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. at Assumption Church, 27 S. Adams St., Manchester.
Family and friends may call at the funeral home on April 7 from 4 to 7 p.m. Burial with full military honors will be held at Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield.
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Published in Journal Inquirer from Apr. 7 to Apr. 11, 2014
John F. Tierney Funeral Home
219 West Center Street Manchester, CT 06040-4857