Rena Barsanti

Obituary of Rena M. Barsanti

Rena Montrucchio Barsanti, 92, passed away on Sunday, May 2 surrounded by family at her Soquel home. Survivors include daughter Linda and son-in-law, Dwayne Downing of Soquel, daughter, Cristine Barsanti of Columbia, CA, twin granddaughters, Elizabeth Downing of Santa Cruz and Angelina Downing of San Diego. She is also survived by sister, Rose of Los Altos, cousins Al Genevro (Teresa) and Marcie Davis, brothers-in- law, Rudy Stefanuto and Harry Barsanti (Claire), sister-in-law Kay Barsanti , nieces and their husbands, Sandy Clift (Mike), Terry Hewins (Bill), Cynthia Thormahlen (Gary), and Carolynn Yates (Al), nephews and their wives, Roy, Ray (Barbara), Paul (Marianne) and David (Ann Marie) Barsanti, as well as loving caregivers, Mary Kuriakose and Tuyet Forst. She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years, Edward in November, 2008. Rena was born in Alessandria d'Asti, Piemonte, Italy to Battista and Angelina Montrucchio who immigrated to San Francisco when Rena was 5. She shared fond memories of living in the immigrant neighborhood of Salmon Alley where her lifelong friendship with members of the Hernandez family began. She graduated from Presentation High School in San Francisco in 1935 She met Edward at a Cocoanut Grove big band dance, and they married in 1940. They moved to Menlo Park and later Los Altos where the family lived for 20 years tending their apricot orchard and vegetable garden. In the Italian tradition, both her parents and Ed's lived as their neighbors. She was considered a modern woman, as she worked outside the home before it was customary. Upon their retirement, Rena and Ed moved to Amador County where they had previously vacationed. She continued gardening, playing bridge, and volunteering in her local Catholic parish. They made many trips to Maui, also travelling with friends to Alaska, Europe, China, Australia and New Zealand. In 1992, along with her sister, Rose, Rena returned to her birthplace in Italy where she reconnected with her family. Rena and Ed spent 1991 living in Maui, and then returned to Linda and Dwayne's country property in Soquel where she lived for the remainder of her life. As the first in her family to speak English, she became capable and self directed at a young age. She was a generous, spirited, and loyal woman, an independent thinker, who was steadfast in her belief in the value of a close family. The family gathered often for holidays and celebrations, savoring her Italian cooking including her renowned biscotti. She instilled in her daughters and granddaughters the importance of being self-reliant. Always willing to offer encouragement and support, she was an inspiration to many of her daughters' girlfriends. Rena was compassionate about the well being of humankind and the environment, and contributed to organizations she felt would make a positive difference in the lives of others. A memorial for Rena will be held at 11am, Friday, May 21st at St. Joseph's Church (435 Monterey Avenue, Capitola). Private committal will follow at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Rena's name to St. Joseph's Church, New Horizons School (4951 Soquel Drive, Soquel 95073), Alzheimer's Association Santa Cruz Chapter (1777-A Capitola Road, Santa Cruz 95062) or MS Society, Northern California Chapter, Montrucchio Family Fund (1700 Owens Street, Suite 190 San Francisco, CA 94158).
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