What does it mean to “love life”?
To work productively, laugh heartily, love deeply, tap into creativity, experience adventure, and persevere to the end.
  • 82 years old
  • Born on December 6, 1935 in Rutherford, New Jersey, United States.
  • Passed away on May 19, 2018 in Torrance, California, United States.

Dolores (Dee) Sammartino was born in Rutherford, NJ, on December 6, 1935 and completed her journey here on May 19, 2018.She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law Eugene and Chris; her nieces, Andria, April, and Dee; her nephew and his spouse Lee and Carina, her sister and brother-in-law Lin and Jim; her sister-in-law, Vivian; her cousin, Joann; and many other cousins, great-nieces and nephews. She was preceded by her parents, Gene and Mary; her sister, Marylin, and her brother, Dennis.

After Dee’s retirement from a productive work life as a stellar legal secretary, she was able to spend all her time doing things she loved. Travel was one of her favorite pastimes. She enjoyed trips with her friends to Europe, China, India, Africa, the Caribbean, Greece, and many other places. Dee’s hobbies included gourmet cooking, creating scrapbooks of her travels, and designing the most beautiful faux Faberge eggs. If you were a friend, you would have eaten many of her delicious meals and been the recipient of one or more of these designer eggs. She loved football, reading, dining out with friends, concerts and plays, bingo, and playing the card game, “Five Crowns”.  Dee's favorite charity was “St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital”.

Dee had several dear friends, most of which called her “Auntie Dee” including Roger, Pat, Karen and Jeff, Dave and Julie, Yiorgos, Dan and Ray, Joelle and Patrick, Hal and Ann, and Tom.  Auntie Dee was so relational in nature and such a loved person it would be impossible to name the many people in her life who she loved and who loved her.

Auntie Dee will be missed by so many. Her memorial service and reception will be held at Life Covenant Church on June 22nd, 2018 at 11:00 a.m., 308 Maple Avenue, Torrance, Ca. 90503.  All are invited to attend.

Posted by Patrick Collard, MHR on 6th December 2018
Happy Birthday, Dee. But as you would always say, "Talk is cheap." So, Joelle and I made a donation today to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in your name. Why? Because that's what best friends do.
Posted by Vivian Sammartino on 6th December 2018
Dearest Dee, I know you will be celebrating your birthday with another special person that I miss so much. I miss you and our long phone calls, and especially the laughter. May you be at peace, you will always have a special place in my heart. Love and Hugs. Happy Birthday!! Viv.
Posted by Andria Sigler-Smalz on 6th December 2018
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25. Trying to imagine what Auntie Dee is doing in her new life with God. She would have her new healthy body and be doing well, but I still miss her on this side of heaven. Thinking of Aunt Dee today on her 83rd birthday.
Posted by Karen Hogue on 6th December 2018
Happy Birthday Dee! , Hope you are enjoying heaven. A day does not go by without me thinking of and missing you! Love you Forever...
Posted by Joelle Garfinkel on 6th December 2018
Hi Dee, I woke up sad today because I can’t call you on the phone today to sing you happy birthday. I can still hear your laughter in my mind which both amplifies and eases my sadness. I wish the world had more time with you in it. My heart aches from missing you but today is a day to celebrate your life instead of mourning your loss. I will spend the day remembering the joy and love your friendship brought to my life. Replaying in my mind the funny phrases you used will be my manta today. Watching movies in my mind of our travels together will be my entertainment today. Sipping white wine with ice will be my elixir today. Laughter will be my language today. Happy Birthday to you... Happy Birthday to you... Happy Birthday Dear Dee... Happy Birthday to you... Love you bunches!
Posted by Andria Sigler-Smalz on 16th July 2018
Auntie Dee, While looking through your recipe book and choosing one to make today, I was thinking about you and missing you as I so often do. It’s hard to believe that it has been almost two months since you left; two months since I could pick up the phone to see how you’re doing or share an amusing story with you; two months since I heard you laugh.
Posted by Vivian Sammartino on 2nd July 2018
Dearest Dee. You will be missed by so many. I was blessed to get to know you through marriage to Dennis and we quickly became sister's. I loved being in your company, we had so many laughs together. That is the one thing I loved so much about you. No matter how bad things were, you always made me laugh. I am sure your light is shining brightly even now. You will be missed by many. Love you and your very special laugh.
Posted by Patrick Collard, MHR on 24th June 2018
While I did not know Dee for 40+ years, my fondest memory of her was recently when she called to thank me and Joelle for contributing financially along with Andria and Tim, David and Julie, Jim and Lynn, and Roger, so that she could return to her apartment with in-home care. She wanted this so desperately because she was hoping to recapture a small part of her quality of life that made her who she was, being independent. Even though it only lasted 9 days, hearing the optimism in her voice when she got home was unforgettable and inspirational. When she asked me, “Honey, why did you and Joelle do this for me?” My response was, “Because that’s what best friends do for each other.” I also knew that she wouldn’t have hesitated a second to do it for us or anyone that she cared about. Not one second.
Posted by Joelle Garfinkel on 17th June 2018
My dearest friend Dee. Your infectious passion for life and all it has to offer will always inspire me. Your kindness and generosity is how I aspire to be. Your wit, humor and timing made your colorful stories come alive. Being blessed with your friendship has brought incredible joy to my life, without it I would truly be a different person. I don’t know how to thank you for all you’ve done for me through the years. You would probably say it was “no biggy sweetheart.” But, it was, it all was! You were bigger than life in how you loved and all you did. You will be so very missed by so very many! I will hold on to my priceless memories of our travels, your laughter, your unwavering support and the knowledge that you are no longer in pain to help me through the sadness of missing you. Thank you for being my best friend, I will always hold you in my heart, I will always miss you and I will always love you.
Posted by Andria Sigler-Smalz on 13th June 2018
From Dee’s Cousin JoAnn: Dearest Dolores - I can't begin to tell you how sad I am of your passing into Heaven. Although I know you are now at peace with God and all your loved ones, and your pain and suffering are gone, which I am extremely grateful for, I will miss you terribly! Although we are cousins, most of our lives we lived in different states, we (myself, my wonderful husband, Joe, and all our immediate family) remain bonded by blood and a mutual respect and love, and always looked forward to our phone calls and visits whenever one of us were able to call or visit the other. When you and Marylin were babies, my mother, Aunt Lucy (your father, Gene's younger sister), or Aunt Ooshie (as you both called her at that time) was very much a part of your lives and was very much missed by both of you during the 14 years my family lived in W. Va. I still remember the first time I met you. My family had moved back to N.J. and we were only living here for a few months, and at 11 years old I was very insecure and unhappy about being dragged from all my friends and home to live in this busy, crazy State of N.J. not knowing anyone, except for my mother's sister, Aunt Nettie, Uncle Danny, and their wonderful children, who were kind enough to share their home with us for a few months until we could get set up in our own apartment; when you and your wonderful sister, Marylin came to visit spreading a ray of sunshine and laughter on my entire family. During that visit you both continually called by mom, Aunt Ooshie, and the 3 of you would laugh this contagious laugh so hysterically, my father, George; Brother, George, Jr.; and sister, Lucille and I would join you in hysterical laughter, and you would then tell us funny stories about your lives that kept the laughter going. All of a sudden, I didn't feel so lonely and upset about the move. I had even more family around me! My sister and I loved you both so much and felt so close to you that we chose you two to be our Sponsors when we received the Sacrament of Confirmation the following year. I was so happy and proud to have you as my sponsor and even chose your name to be my middle name. I was so excited and anxious to fill out the paperwork that I thought I knew how to spell your name and misspelled your name on the paperwork - Delores instead of Dolores. Once I learned I had misspelled it and tried to change it, I was informed it was not possible without going through a lot of work and money and therefore it remains as is. Boy was I disappointed and you, of course, made a joke about it and didn't seem to mind and all of a sudden it was OK. I also remember when I learned you were moving to California - I felt devastated thinking I would never hear from you or see you again - and then Marylin and her family moved also - boy was I sad. But I learned that when you truly care about someone distance doesn't matter. You find a way of staying bonded which is just what we all did! We were total opposites - even though I have a deep faith in God, somehow I was always too serious, worrying about everything and you would call or come in spreading a ray of sunshine and laughter with all your stories of all the positive and silly things in your life, even sharing details of your times spent with your wonderful dedicated family and friends, fun, exciting occasions and trips and all of a sudden I was laughing hysterically and everything was OK. The example of the way you lived your life, making the most of every minute and dwelling on all the happy times whether it be at home or traveling taught me so much, and because of your example, I was able to live my life very differently and joyfully. I can never thank you enough for this! What a Blessing both you and Marylin were in our lives. Again thank you sooooo much for everything!!! Rest in Peace my beautiful cousins!!! ​​​​​Your loving cousin, JoAnn
Posted by Lorrie MacKenzie on 10th June 2018
I've known Dee for as long as I've know Andria, which is fifty years. She was kind, had the best sense of humor ever, was absolutely charming and, on top of it, good looking. She loved her family and was protective of her sister Marylin. Everybody had fun around Dee. Everywhere she went turned into a joyful gathering. I will miss her and so will so many other people. See you soon, Dee.
Posted by Rob Allender on 10th June 2018
You were a person who always made a kind impression
Posted by Jean-Michel Thuillet on 10th June 2018
Dear Auntie Dee, Rob (my spouse) and I only met you a few years ago thanks to our dear friends Dan and Ray and it was a revelation! We immediately clicked and felt as if we had known each other forever! Auntie Dee was always cheery, bright, smiling and laughing all the time which was contagious, she also had a great sense of humor and everyone was magically drawn to her. We loved her smile, her gentleness and we appreciated her kindness to everyone. She was an elegant lady with a lot of style and when Dan and Ray recalled her walking in the morning hours through the streets of Paris, I am not surprised as when we first met, she looked like an elegant Parisian lady as she had a natural elegance and poise. Dear Auntie Dee, we wish we had more time to share our friendship, but you will always be in our hearts and prayers.
Posted by Andria Sigler-Smalz on 9th June 2018
From JoAnn Deegan: We loved your beautiful smile and enjoyed your contagious laughter with your sense of humor. It was always fun having you around. We are sad you are gone but glad you are out of pain. We know you are up there cracking jokes with Dad. We miss you and love you lots Auntie Dee.
Posted by Dan Fichtner on 6th June 2018
How can one put into words the loss of the “Love of Our Lives?” Auntie Dee has left a void in our hearts. Our 40-year relationship started with exchanging zucchini squash and other FOOD over our common fence, one of the main ingredients in our togetherness. Backyard barbeques, Sunday brunches, and martinis, all lead to our exploration of the world together: China, Africa, South America around the Cape, Tibet, Japan, Amsterdam, the Mediterranean (The Blessed Mother’s home in Ephesus, with Mass included), Italy (wine and olive oil tasting), Turkey, Ireland (with Mother Mary McKeown), and trips to San Francisco, New Orleans, Memphis and perhaps her favorite Los Olivos for wine tasting at the Fess Parker (Davy Crockett) Winery. (The white Riesling her favorite.) Auntie Dee was a trooper, a bundle of energy not to be tied down by anything or anybody. On our trip to Tibet, she climbed the stairs of the Potala Palace in Lhasa with ease, even though she unknowingly had Walking Pneumonia. She found the temples with their yak butter candles gave her much relief from her cold like symptoms (heavy breathing.) She never gave up, even walking in the early morning hours through the streets of Paris. Dan was ready to give up, but she wanted to continue our walk, and because of her resolve we were lucky to see Arafat entering his hotel. What a trooper she was. She also drove thousands of miles to see the people she loved. We lost count of the number of cars and tickets she had. Her love of entertaining is infectious. New Years parties around the corner from us, and her Thanksgiving Dinner for Yoshi and Mike were highlights, but not the only meals remembered. Her to-go meal of Broccoli, Bacon and Pasta was to die for. She was always up for a party, even when she and friend Helen had facelifts and were bandaged up like the Invisible man. They came to our backyard barbeque and joined in on the fun. She was never one to shy away from anything embarrassing. She was a constant source of love and laughter. Farewell, but never to be forgotten, from her “two sons she never had.” Ray and Danny
Posted by Luanne Botimer on 5th June 2018
I will miss this great lady terribly. Even though we lived clear across the country from each other, when we did get together, it was like yesterday. We were staying with Dee when that earthquake hit, she thought it was "the big one"! Another time, we had dinner at Tony's on the Pier and saw this dirty little fluffball puppy being circled by a bunch of cats. Dee wades in, grabs the pup, takes it home and spends all evening shampooing and brushing him, so cute! (I think that was "Killer?).We (Dee, Tom, and I) spent a few days in S.F., did all the Haight-Ashbury stuff (late 60's, it was quite a scene). I really loved spending time with her. My only regret is that we lived so far apart. (Course, it may have been big trouble if we lived closer! Manage So .. rest in peace Dee. I know how you suffered for so many years, no more pain, But you will be dearly missed.
Posted by Layla Simerly on 4th June 2018
My Aunt Dee will be truly missed. She was always so full of life. I remember she would take me for a week here and there when I was younger . I recall one time her being in her 70s and crawling on the floor underneath her car get something she dropped. I always thought wow nothing will stop my Aunt Dee. She was always up and ready to go not letting age or anything of that matter get in her way. Even in her final months she was planning a trip to come see me in Hawaii. I would give anything to have that last trip happen . But I know she is now in peace and not and pain and her memory will always live on because you can never forget a women as great as her. ❤️
Posted by Jody Spinuzza on 29th May 2018
DEE was the best!. She was one of a kind who always kept me laughing. She was thoughtful, hospitable, and the bright spot at any gathering. She will be greatly missed.
Posted by Kristie Ingalls on 28th May 2018
DEE.. i only got to spend a little over a week with her.. BUT IT WAS THE BEST TIME EVER! we had so much fun doing absolutely nothing together. She was such an amazing woman. Shes was so sweet, loving, caring, and extremely funny! During her last few weeks..even tho she was in so much pain.. she was such a trooper! konner and i will miss you dearly.. we love you.
Posted by Donna McLeod on 28th May 2018
I only had a few years of friendship with you and what a wonderful time it was. To be with you was so much fun. You were always so upbeat and funny, always laughing, telling stories and enjoying beating all of us playing 5 Crowns. I so wish that we could have had more time to spend with you Dee. Our outings, dining and card games will never be the same without you. You were a wonderful and devoted friend. Rest in Peace dear Dee
Posted by Phil Lothrop on 28th May 2018
Dee Sammartino was a star! She was a cheerleader and a good friend to the Class of 1953, RHS (Rutherford, NJ High School). We all remember Dee and will miss her as we miss our other departed classmates and friends. Dee may be gone but, certainly not forgotten. Rest in Peace, old friend.
Posted by Teresa Peeke on 28th May 2018
Dee was my father's right hand for many years. I can't remember his office without her. She was one tough cookie who always had a smile and knew how to handle all the crazy Allen's. I am blessed to have been with Dee in the last few months and know she did not lose her spirit and spunk. I will miss you Dee. You are with my dad now and will always be in my heart.
Posted by Karen Hogue on 27th May 2018
Dee was the most loyal and fiercely protective friend any one could dream of. She taught me friendships were as great a gift in life as having a significant other and I cherish deeply our 40 precious years of adventures together. From riding elephants in the Thai jungles , feeding monkeys in the rainforest , exploring the Taj Mahal,praying in temples in India and exploring remote villages around the world life was always exciting and fun with Dee! Since the day they were born she showered my daughters Nicole and Monique with so much love and treasured them like her own .She was always ready to play candy land , and then gin rummy and dominoes as they got older. Never missing a special family event we had wonderful times preparing fancy food together for the occasion . As times changed we spent more time at home having a glass of wine or lemon drop together, watching Judge Judy and I couldn't help but think since Dee was in the legal field if she had been a judge she would have been exactly like her with the quick wit, funny but no nonsense approach to life!!! My heart aches for you, I love and miss you Dee, just as you said these last words to me I say them back to you - I will see you on the other side.
Posted by Roger Wertenberger on 27th May 2018
Dee was an awesome lady and someone I was lucky enough to have shared a friendship with for 40 plus years. She enjoyed meeting new people which in many cases quickly became friends. Dee loved life, she was always looking forward to the next adventure. I have so many fond memories of times that we shared together traveling, holiday meals and simpler times just preparing a meal at one of our homes and watching television on a Saturday night. Like so many I feel blessed to have been a friend and able to hold those wonderful memories. Dee will be missed tremendously by all whose life she touched.
Posted by Ann Bronson on 27th May 2018
In remembrance of our dear friend Dee, may she now be in comfort and at peace. We are so thankful for the opportunity to speak to her in the last days to express our love, appreciation and concern for her over the years. We have many memories of our times spent with her- always an event with many happy hours, discussions of all things from silly to serious while cooking, making pickles or jam, doing our egg-art or just being together. And that is just a few of the many adventures we had, always with a lot of laughter and insight , in spite of life's difficulties. We are so thankful for her company and friendship. One story: We were traveling the freeway in her flashy red mustang, the pedal to the metal, when the Highway Patrol came along side and got her attention by shaking his head in a no-no fashion. Dee gave him a big smile and just kept on at her rate of speed as he dropped back out of sight. The Frank Sinatra song "My Way" comes to mind when thinking of her. Ann Bronson Hal Vokaty
Posted by Joe Calabrese on 26th May 2018
Dee, You will be missed by anyone and everyone who has ever met you. You always had us in stitches with your jokes or stories. You always saw the good in every situation. I can't believe you are gone. I am glad you are finally our of pain and at peace. You will be missed!! We love you, Joe and Lisa
Posted by Andria Sigler-Smalz on 26th May 2018
Thinking about you constantly, and so sad that your last year was so difficult. What I wouldn't have given for a magic wand to make all your health issues disappear! I loved your laugh, your loyalty, your spunk and your class. Miss you so much, Auntie.

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