90th birthday
Theresa Stubeda
  • 96 years old
  • Date of birth: Jul 16, 1918
  • Date of passing: Aug 29, 2014
Let the memory of Theresa be with us forever

This memorial website was created in memory of Theresa Stubeda, who  passed away on August 29, 2014, at the age of 96.

Theresa Sodi Stubeda was born in Cambridge, MA on July 16, 1918. She was one of 9 children.

Born only a few years after her parents immigrated from Italy, she spoke only Italian until she learned English at school.

Growing up, she felt very close to her grandmother, Loretta Moreno, who lived with the family. She also grew up with her nephew, “cousin Louie”, whose mother, her sister Amelia, had died at an early age.

Her father was a cobbler, who had his own little shop, while her mother worked as a seamstress, making men’s clothing.

Theresa started working at a local dry goods store about the age of 12, and eventually had to quit school to work longer hours to help support the family (this was during the depression).

She met John Stubeda at a later job at a meat-packing company in Boston. Every Friday she brought him her pepper and egg sandwich (throughout her life food was an expression of love and affection). When they were married on Dec. 6 1940, she was the first of her siblings to marry into a non-Italian family.

John and Theresa settled in a home not far from her mother’s house in Somerville. Their first daughter, Sandy, was born in January of 1942. 

Many of John’s brothers enlisted as the country entered World War II. As the father of a young daughter, John instead was trained to be a welder and sent to work in a defence factory (at GE, where he continued on for many years until his retirement).

Their second daughter, Patty, was born in January of 1945. Theresa would get up early in the morning to take both daughters to her mother’s home, then would et on the bus to Boston for work.

Denise was born in 1953, and Debbie in 1957. It was about this time that the family moved to a new home in Melrose. Theresa single-handedly managed the purchase of the new house and the sale of the old one. She also purchased a car for John to commute to work (although she never drove it, never learning to drive). The car was a gigantic bright blue Buick, stayed with the family until the floor literally rusted out (and beyond, as a piece of wood was put down over the hole).

Theresa went to work making curtains at a factory in Melrose as it was within walking distance, and later at Servomation, where she is said to have been popular with the younger workers. She stayed on at Servomation until John retired, and they moved to Derry, NH. Despite John’s retirement, Theresa continued to work in the kitchen of a local nursing home in New Hampshire. She eventually stopped working only when John was no longer able to drive her to work.

For many years following her retirement, she kept shop in Sandy and Patty’s gift store on Bearskin Neck in Rockport, where she created a wonderful network of friendships with neighbours, vacationers and other store keepers. Vacationers would return to the store year after year just to say hello to her.

Throughout her life, Theresa was a hard working, talented and family-oriented woman. While she working outside the home almost continuously for 5 decades in physically demanding jobs, she was still able to devote a tremendous amount of energy to her family and home life. She cooked Italian specialities from scratch, making her own pasta, as well as wonderful soups and stews, and decorated her daughter’s birthday cakes in great style. She was always ready with wonderful desserts for all of the bake sales. She sewed clothes for her family, making fully lined Easter coats for her daughters every year. She grew beautiful gardens around the house, loving to send floral bouquets to neighbours, friends and her daughter’s teachers. 

She always has been the center of her large (and ever-growing) family. She is survived by her four daughters, her nine grandchildren, as well as her three great grandchildren, who will all remember her fondly. We will miss her.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by joyce anderson on 2nd October 2014

"Dear Denise and sisters,, I was so sorry to hear you lost your mum. Reading through the memorial, I am so touched. What a truly incredible woman she was, and what an amazing life!. She worked so hard,  always put her family first, and I can say I learned first hand what a warm and generous heart she had. I was always welcomed into your home, and was included on so many family outings. Your home resonated with love and your mum was one of a kind. Imagine, keeping that large home, cooking all the time, (your house always smelled wonderful) and working into your 90's. Absolutely amazing! I remember that she smiled all the time. Please accept my deepest sympathy. From Joyce Howe Anderson"

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 19th September 2014

"Dear Sandy all the Family

I got to know your mom a little over 20 years ago when I first opened my shop across from hers. She was lovely, lively, spiteful, and totally full of life. She also became my best friend in a very short time. We spent many evenings together in Rockport after the store was closed and talked the hours away. Through her, I got to know all of you. She was so proud of her children and grandchildren and talked about you a lot.

Your mom will always be in my heart and my love for her will be with me for the rest of my life.  My sincerest wishes to all of you at this difficult time.

Anita Murray"

This tribute was added by LORI EAGAN on 17th September 2014

"What a beautiful page dedicated to your mom. It is quite evident how much she is loved. We enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading about her life. What an amazing woman she was. How blessed you all are to have had her for 96 years. God bless, Theresa :-)
The Eagan Family"

This tribute was added by Judy Donahue on 17th September 2014

"so many happy memories from my childhood.  I especially remember the time Debbie invited me to join her and her sister Denise on a family outing to York's Wild Animal Kingdom in York Maine.  On the way there, the car broke down on that big bridge in Portsmouth.  I remember being alittle frightened, but Mrs. Stubeda  made us all feel better and we were soon on our way to a fun day at the Park.   It's never easy to say goodbye, but special memories do help to ease the pain and knowing that you will all be together again someday makes it more bearable.          With deepest sympathy   Judy Howe Donahue"

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 16th September 2014

"Dear Sandy & Family,
  We have enjoyed living at Periwinkle Blue with Terry downstairs over the last 7 years in the winter!  Although Terry didn't stay during the bitter winter months (she was smart!!), we got to know her quite well...We were always amazed at her quick intelligent conversations - always abreast of all that was happening.  People were always popping into her shop to visit with her.  Her speciality of pizzelles were handed out to everyone.  She always asked and cared about our family, and was delighted when they came to visit her.  I was amazed that she never used any butter in her life - only olive oil, so she was still conscious of her diet and Italian roots.  The local paper wrote an article about her, and her special nickname of Grandma Winkle....She was definitely the local ambasador for Bearskin Neck!  We will miss her lively smile and caring nature, as will everyone who came in contact with her.  Her memory will continue to surround us....
Love, Beverly & Alister"

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 16th September 2014

"Thank you so much for sharing with me this wonderful tribute to Theresa. She was truly a remarkable person, a part of our nations Great Generation. Love, John Guarnieri."

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 15th September 2014

"Sandy and Family,
What beautiful memories of Terry! The pictures were just beautiful too!! Terry was a very hard working woman, who very clearly passed that work ethic on to you, Sandy!!
We have such fond memories of Terry ... She always had such beautiful stories to share about her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She would show us pictures, and her eyes would light up with joy when she talked about all of you.
May all these beautiful memories detailed here be a source of comfort to you, during this difficult time. We will always remember your precious mother's beautiful smile and wonderful laughter as we continue to stay at Beautiful Periwinkle Blue!
Love and Blessings ,
Dan and Elise Benton"

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 15th September 2014

"Sandy and Family

I was privilage to visit Periwinkle in Rockport during my visit to America November 3 years ago. I never met Theresa but realize reading all the  memories, they also reflecs in Sandy's life, hard working and devotion, Sandy and her students in South Africa,

From all of us at Kniff un Gaffel Guest House our sympathy and condolences to you and your family,

You're always in our thoughts and prayers

Don, Annemarie, Ida and crew"

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 15th September 2014

"Hi Sandy, Wow this is a beautiful story of your Moms 96 years of life. She lived a exciting life in the early days, hard worker, family oriented, and devoted wife.  I knew she was remarkable when I meet her at Periwinkle  Shop, she was filled with great memories of her loving family and Aruba. It was my pleasure to have had the opertunity to chit chat with her. Let the found memories keep her alive. My condolances to you and your family. I love the pictures so beautiful. Take care

Love Cathy and Frank Ciulla"

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 15th September 2014

"I am a long time friend of Sandy.  I brought my mom Lena Brienzo born in 1919 to visit Sandy and Theresa at Periwinkle Blue.  We had a grand time.  So glad we got to know her.
Our sympathy to all who were part of her life.
Love,  Jan & John Ross"

This tribute was added by Sandy Flaherty on 15th September 2014

"Dear Sandy and Family,

We are so very sorry to hear of Terry's passing.  We went by the Periwinkle Shop in late August hoping to see her and found the door closed.  Her memory will be very bright and enduring, especially every time we visit Rockport.  She was amazing!  We loved her!  Our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to you and family and our thoughts and prayers that the love that surrounds you will help to bring you peace.

Susan & Lisa Wills"

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