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Remembering Violetta Sapienza

Vi lived for over 10 years at the Fellowship Community to ripe age of 103!

Violetta Sapienza (nee Violetta Sciolino) was born in 1918 in Buffalo, NY, the third of five children, four girls and a boy. Her father was a salesman of clothes, but business was not good - to save money they bought their food by the bushel. Nevertheless, Violetta had a happy childhood. The children played games in the street that did not cost anything - jacks, jumping rope, hide-and-seek. In winter they went sledding in Chestnut Ridge Park. They lived in a house which her grandfa­ther had given to her mother when she got married.

Going to public school, Vi remembers teachers looking out the windows watching the five children piling out of the car. In high school, Violetta was vice president of both the junior and senior classes.

After high school, she and her sister walked every morning at 2:00 am to volunteer for the Air­craft Warning Service. This was a service set up during World War II to warn about possible enemy airplanes crossing our borders. Volunteer observers passed information to Information Centers like the one in Buffalo where other volunteers would plot the location of aircraft on a giant map which could be observed from a balcony by officers of the armed services.

Violetta was so proud to be in the first group of women to enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps in World War II. Eventually, Violetta joined the Army as a second lieutenant to be in charge of the post theater and library and to arrange the high school equivalency program on an army post in Alabama. She remembers having to close the theater whenever the popcorn machine broke down - it was the only money maker. The tickets were priced so low that they could not support the operation of the theater.

After the war, Violetta passed the civil service examination and took on a position as Director of Volunteers at the Erie County Home and Infirmary, a nursing home in Alden, NY. It was important work that justified the fifty-minute drive from her home. Violetta's strong work ethic continued her entire life, as she worked full time in her community up until she was 75 years old.

Violetta married Anthony L. Sapienza, an attorney who eventually became Assistant District Attorney in Buffalo. They had four children Carol and Susan, and the late Louise and Beth. When they were children, their parents took them to Italy. Viewing the art there may have inspired one of the daughters, Carol, to become an art teacher in a New York City high school. Carol's daughter lives in Hawaii, and Susan lives in Istanbul and has seven children. Two of these, one grandson and one granddaughter, are doctors; it is very unusual for a woman in Turkey to have an education, even more unusual to be a doctor.

Violetta visited her daughter in Istanbul every time she had a child! Carol has a friend whose mother was a member here at the Fellowship and was very happy here. This is how Violetta learned about the Fellowship, and she joined the community in 2011, and enjoyed her life here.

May she Rest in Peace.


To make a gift to the Fellowship Community in honor of Violetta please visit


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