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Elizabeth DeFina passed away peacefully at home on Fri., Feb. 28, 2014.
Words cannot express the express the heroism, devotion and strength that Elizabeth DeFina showed as she raised four children as a single parent with a demanding career as a registered nurse. Her journey began on a farm in south Georgia before the depression hit America. As the youngest of seven children, she weathered many hardships in childhood including the Great Depression and the loss of her father at age 10. Her strength and resolve never failed her.
At age 17, she left home to move to Atlanta and attend Georgia Baptist nursing program where she was known as known as "Baby Ray" since she was the youngest child from her family and had an older sibling, Quenelle, who had gone through Georgia Baptist.As a teenager, she heroically undertook the duties of nursing at Georgia Baptist Hospital and spent the next 50 years serving others. At age 67 she was able to retire and spent the rest of her life in Tallahassee, enjoying her home, garden and most of all her children.
Elizabeth was a lovely combination of femininity and remarkable energy and drive.She was married for 16 years to Albert DeFina, a charismatic Italian man from New York. When their marriage did not work out, she bravely undertook single parenthood and her nursing career at a time when most women stayed home. For her children and grandchildren her home was a place where she always took you in the matter what your foibles, inadequacies, or life mistakes.For her patients, she was the one who could always find a vein, distract you from an injection or answer your call no matter what the hour.
Elizabeth is survived by her beloved older sister, Quenelle Collins, her four children, Linda DeFina Miles (Robert), David DeFina (Rose), Patrick DeFina, and Dana DeFina Moxley (Walter); three grandchildren, Brett Cooper (Debbie), Mary Moxley Meaders (Shane), and Michael Moxley; as well as four great-grandchildren, Jasmine and Raygan Meaders, Isaac and Bella Cooper.
She was adored by nieces, nephews and neighborhood children. Some of the neighborhood children reported that when they ran away from home they would come to her because they knew they were always welcomed. Some of the people that thought of her as a second mother include: Jan Jones Harbeson, Lucy Skagfield Baney, Barry Burkhart, Michael Smith and an entourage of boys we'll call the Truett St. and Forest Dr. coterie.You know who you are and the escapades she supported us through. To put up with us and still love us is proof she was an angel. We all believe she still is.
Friends and family will be received Tuesday from 6-8 pm at the Culley's Meadowwood Funeral Home, Riggins Road Chapel. Graveside funeral services will take place 11 am, Wednesday at Christ Church Cemetery in Baker County, Georgia.
In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to Big Bend Hospice, in memory of Elizabeth DeFina.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Mar. 2, 2014