Elisa Swenson
1960 - 2020
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Elisa "Lili" (Barbagelata) Swenson
January 11, 1960 - June 9, 2020
Elisa Jane (Barbagelata) Swenson was born in San Francisco, California. She was fondly called by her nickname "Lili," and was the third eldest of John and Angela Barbagelata's eight children.

It seems God tasked Lili with the job of making the world more beautiful. He gave her the gift of introspection so she could smooth out the worried edges of those who came to her for advice. He matched her compassionate soul with a zest for life to brighten dark corners. He blessed her with an innate sense of style to transform the plain and overlooked.

Lili's roots are deeply steeped in San Francisco history. On her father's side, they date back to the 1870s. Growing up as a teenager in the 70s in San Francisco was quite the experience for Lili, as her father entered politics during the most tumultuous eras in The City's history.

Lili's love of sunshine and the beach took her out of San Francisco after graduating Mercy High School. She lived with a sister or two in San Diego, Hawaii & Santa Cruz — where she met her surfer husband Shane while on a bicycle ride. Shane and Lili married in 1985 and her sister Angela married Shane's brother Scott a year later. Lili's career as a florist inspired her to open her own flower stand in Santa Cruz, bringing cheer to the roadside. Eventually, both couples moved to Watsonville, where the landscaper husbands created havens in apple country. Adding more beauty to the world, Lili and Shane raised five children. Lili deeply loved her family and worked hard to ensure their senses were enhanced with food, laughter and song.

Lili was a beautiful soul, a gorgeous lady, spirited and opinionated, strong as steel, empathetic to a fault, and a social butterfly who cooked with passion, loved intensely, and never shied away from a dance floor. She was masterful at making new friends, whether it was in the local supermarket or at a dinner party, Lili was bound to get to know you. She would truly command the room, simply by walking in.

Lili is preceded in death by her father, John J. Barbagelata, her mother, Angela Barbagelata, her older brother, John A. Barbagelata. She is survived by her husband, Shane Swenson, her children, Marina Sponchiado (Christian), Shane Swenson, John Swenson, Angelina Swenson and Julianna Swenson. She leaves behind her siblings, Anna Barbagelata-Arata (Raymond), Marina Woods (Steven), Angela Swenson (Scott), Elena Barbagelata-Miller, Mark Barbagelata (Rachel) and Paul Barbagelata (Marina), along with her cousins, many nieces, nephews and close friends.

Lili will be laid to rest on June 20, 2020 in a private service, due to COVID-19 restrictions, at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma, CA. Donations can be dedicated in her name to baby2baby.org. Spiritual bouquets, masses said in her memory, would also be greatly appreciated. Cards may be sent to 5 Webb Road, Watsonville, CA 95076.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jun. 18 to Jun. 21, 2020.
Holy Cross Cemetery
Memories & Condolences
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8 entries
July 21, 2020
I only saw this now and am SO Sad. In times when many of us a reconnecting on social media after years, Seeing Elisa's passing is a sobering reminder that time keeps marching on. Of all the Barbagelata kids, I knew Elisa well. Hoping all the Family well and offer good thoughts for you all in your loss of Elisa. God Bless
Matthew Nicholas Klunis
June 25, 2020
I dont know Lili, but she looked like a vivacious and passionate woman, and mother. God be with you in your journey.
Mitchell Rothbardt
June 20, 2020
To the Barbagelata siblings, Paul,Anna,Marina,Angela,Elena, Mark and their families,to Lilly's husband Shane, and to Lilly's children: Please accept my heartfelt condolences and deep sympathy on the passing away of beloved Lilly. God bless her soul.May she rest in peace. She is now rejoicing in heaven with her Dad, John her Mom, Angela,her brother Johnny. She will be forever in our hearts.
Terri Sabbah
June 19, 2020
Lili, someone so special like you can never be forgotten. Thank you for the beautiful family that you created. Rest peacefully, I love you.
Christian Sponchiado
June 19, 2020
Lili~ You made my life wonderful meeting you and your entire family and your grade school friends when we met @ Mercy. Meeting new friends from different schools was what I was looking forward to. Yes we got into trouble but it was fun trouble and not hurting anyone. I loved going to your home before we were going out because usually I would get there early and you and your sisters were still doing chores. Meeting your parents for the first time was your father in his study, tall, stern but charming and your mother was simply beautiful just like you and all of your siblings. You shined to all who met you. One day we shall meet again on a beach filled with flowers. My condolences to your entire family.
Cynthia Garibaldi
June 19, 2020
Lili made the world a better place, she is such a beautiful person, inside and out..
Joe Fletcher
June 19, 2020
My sincere sympathies to you Paul and the Barbagelata Family. May Elisa rest in peace.
Norman I Dudum
June 18, 2020
I knew Lily in high school and early college days. She was always so positive and fun to hang out with. I remember her love of bodysurfing at windansea beach.
I'm so sad to hear she is gone much too young.
Maureen Morales
Maureen Morales
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