Helen P. Battista, 103, of Farmington, CT, died peacefully September 29, 2018, with family by her side,
in the home in which she was born and lived her entire life. Born April 21, 1915, she was the youngest
and last surviving child of Joseph M. and Teresa B. Battista, originally of Lenola, Italy.
Helen attended Farmington schools, graduating from Farmington High School in 1932, at the age of 16,
and then from Mary Washington College (now the University of Mary Washington), in Fredericksburg,
Virginia, in 1936, with a Bachelor’s degree in education.
Immediately after graduation she joined the faculty of Union School in Unionville, retiring after 30 years
of service. This was followed by 10 years of employment in the life-underwriting department of Traveler’s
During World War II she was a volunteer nurse’s aide with the Red Cross, stationed at St. Francis
Hospital and at the Newington Veterans’ Hospital. After war’s end, she continued volunteer service with
the Red Cross in the blood donor program and in the transportation of the ill to medical appointments,
and she continued doing this into her early 90’s.
A daily communicant of St. Patrick Church, she was a past member of the parish council and a charter
member and past president of St. Patrick Women’s Guild. She was also a member and past president of
the Retreat League of Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center in Farmington.
Helen loved creative activities. Her friends and family were the fortunate recipients of many examples of
her fine needlepoint, reflecting her love for design, symmetry and color, and graceful, antique chairs,
which she refinished and caned or rushed, have enhanced many homes.
Blessed with a true “green thumb”, she kept her gardens lush with perennials, annuals and flowering
shrubs, many of which she generously shared with all who were interested. Well into her nineties she
continued to add new varieties annually to her plantings.
Helen traveled extensively to Europe (especially Italy), the Holy Land and within the United States. Her
tales of these adventures were always entertaining, particularly of the mosquitoes “which were as large as
A loyal supporter of UCONN women’s basketball, she looked forward eagerly to each of their games and
followed the team record and individual player’s records closely.
Helen was a loving, supportive, involved “Auntie Helen” to four generations of very fortunate nieces and
nephews. Their lives are painfully diminished by her absence. She was a fountain of love, wisdom, sound
advice, good humor and optimism.
Besides her parents, she was predeceased by five sisters, three brothers, three nephews, a grandnephew
and one great-grandnephew.
She is survived by four generations of nieces and nephews:
First Generation: Nieces Teresa Barton (Bristol) and Marianne Grace (Plainville); Second Generation:
Godson and grandnephew, Michael Barton & his wife Elizabeth (Hartford), grandnephews/nieces
Christopher Barton (Burlington), Jan St. George (Southington), Peter Barton and his wife Cheri (Bristol),
Andrew Barton and his wife Mary (Bristol), Bruce Canzanella and his wife Cindy, (Monck’s Corner, SC),
Jeanne Lovely and her husband Peter (Torrington), Robert Canzanella (Windsor), Joseph Canzanella and
his wife, Sally (Venice, FL), Louis Canzanella and his wife Patricia (The Villages, FL); Third Generation: 18
nieces and nephews; and Fourth Generation: 6 nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank
Helen’s aide, Evelyn Treadwell for her many years of caring service.
If you wish to make a contribution in Helen’s name in lieu of flowers, the organizations that she
supported included Food for the Poor, P.O. Box 979005, Coconut Creek, FL 33097-9005; St. Jude
Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; Maryknoll Sisters, P.O. Box 317,
Maryknoll, NY 10545; and St. Patrick’s Church, 110 Main St., Farmington, CT 06032. Arrangements were