Obituary of Alessandra Mazzucato
Alessandra Mazzucato, 71, of Princeton, died on Sunday, Feb. 13 at the Medical Center at Princeton. She was born on Jan. 12, 1940 in Padua, Italy, and graduated from the University of Padua with a degree in political science. She moved to Princeton in 1972, with 3 young children (aged 2, 4, and 7) after her husband accepted a position as a physicist at Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory. What followed was a life dedicated to her family and community��"with a heart (the one that ultimately failed her) which was so open, generous and attentive to all those who met her. Upon moving to Princeton, Alessandra immersed herself in community activities and over the years endeared herself to everyone she met through her work in various organizations. Early on during her relocation to Princeton, she became a member of the University League, a club founded by wives of faculty members. As an offshoot from that group, she was one of the original founders of a separate group of women who meet weekly to speak Italian ��" a gathering that has endured for more than four decades. She was a member of the board of trustees of Princeton's Dorothea's House, Casa di Cultura Italiana, for more than 30 years. Alessandra was the "heart and soul" of Dorothea's House for the last 25 years and was responsible for returning vitality to the organization after its history as a settlement house for Italian immigrants in the early part of the 20th century. The free monthly cultural programs and Italian language classes held at Dorothea's House are in large part due to her vision, follow-through and charisma. Alessandra was also involved with the Princeton Adult School for more than 30 years, first as a teacher, and later as a member of the board of trustees. Students in her literature class, some for 20 years in a row, looked forward to returning year after year to study a new work under her guidance. She brought out the best in any student through her gentle, yet expert teaching style. She was also responsible for helping the Princeton Public Library choose books for its Italian language collection. She also served on the board of trustees of Crossroads Nursery School for the last eight years, lending her culinary skills to the school's annual fund-raising auction, among other things. During the last few years, people would line up to bid for her homemade artichoke lasagna, a casserole for 12 that would sometimes sell for more than $300. She was also one of the leaders who spearheaded the creation of a yearly quilt auction for the school. An avid quilter and embroiderer, Alessandra was also a charter member of a local stitching group. Her cooking skills were legendary to all who were fortunate enough to be invited to her home for a meal, where she entertained with ease and graciousness. She co-founded "Con Gusto," a cooking class conducted in her home during the early 1980s. She also took her students on organized trips to Italy, both for cooking classes and to view the peninsula's art and architectural sights. Over the years, she volunteered at Riverside School, first as a parent in the PTO, and in more recent years, as a member of GrandPals, seniors who read to kindergarteners. Her family and friendships were of paramount importance in her life, but she also held a variety of jobs outside the home. Aside from her teaching, in the mid-1970s she translated technical manuals for Univac (now Unisys). She later worked for several years as an administrator for the Institute for Semitic Studies and for a period of time in the late 1980s, as liaison for Princeton University for a villa it owned on Italy's Lake Como. From 1989 to 1996, she worked as a community relations director for Stark & Stark. She is survived by her husband of 46 years, Ernesto; daughter Valentina and her husband Luca Bertolini and their children Saskia and Mattia, of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; daughter Mariana and her husband Carlo Cresto-Dina and their children, Leon, Micol, Luce and Sofia, of London, England; and son Jacopo, Stacy Kelley and their children, Zeno and Zola, of Princeton. Each of her 8 grandchildren grew to love her like a second mother. She is also survived by sisters Marisa of Venice, Italy and Francesca of Rome, Italy. She was preceded in death by her parents, Mary Metz and Gustavo Bardella. Alessandra loved life, always focusing on the positive, even when times were tough. She transmitted this love to all those that met her��"in a serene but intense way. Her exceptional quilts (over 20 which she gave to many) symbolized her creativity, attention to detail, beauty and generosity. She will be missed greatly, though her magic, there is no other word, will remain forever. A Memorial service will be held Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 10 am at the Princeton University Chapel In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Crossroads Scholarship Fund: please make checks payable to Crossroads Nursery School to benefit the Crossroads Scholarship Fund, 225 Olden Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540 Trenton Area Soup Kitchen: P.O. Box 872, Trenton, N.J. 08605
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