Kathlyn Alberta Renzi
May 2, 1918 ~ December 1, 2014
Kathlyn Alberta (Russell) Renzi, 96, passed away peacefully on December 1. She was a loving Mom, wonderful Nanny, dear friend Berta and beloved aunt “Boo.”
Born on May 2, 1918 in Bradford County, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of Mildred Melrose Mingos and Charles Addison Russell. As a child, Alberta remembered her grandmother baking every day for their family pie and popcorn shop. She graduated from Athens high school in 1936 where she was known for her speed as a runner.
Soon after graduation, Alberta moved to New York City to attend NYU. In the late 30s, it was no small feat for a woman from small town Pennsylvania (population 7,000) to move to NYC (population 7 million.) Alberta was invited to live with her uncle, Howard Mingos, the aviation expert and Wright Brothers biographer.
Living with her uncle and his wife, she attended NYU and worked at Macy’s. One of her favorite memories from these days was stopping at her sorority house each day to hem her skirt because her aunt was so strict about her skirt-length. In one of her classes at NYU, she met George Bernard Renzi. They married, settled in Connecticut and had three sons: Howard, Roger and Bobby. These three boys were the great loves of her life.
While the boys were little, Alberta worked at Thornton Fuller’s department store in New Canaan, volunteered with the STAR organization and was a Cub Scout Den Leader.
Another favorite memory took place in 1967. Her boys, each 4 years apart, faced major graduations the very same year. She feared they’d fall on the same weekend and she’d have to choose. Thankfully, the timing worked so she could attend all three. Roger graduated from the 8th grade, Bobby from high school and Howie from the United States Naval Academy.
1n 1973, with the birth of her first grandchild, Michael Alexander Renzi, Alberta became always and forever “Nanny.” She called him Michael “A for Angel.” Over the years, she was blessed with a total of seven grandchildren.
Until her stroke in 2012, Alberta lived a long, healthy, colorful life. Her love of fashion and color poured into all aspects of her life. Her favorite color was purple. She collected teapots, dolls, jewelry and memories. She wore the same shade of pearlescent Wet and Wild nail polish for decades. She loved to cook and was passionate about nutrition. She delighted in setting a beautiful table and decorated for every single holiday. She also loved playing cards and spent hours playing Canasta and Rummy 500 with her family.
Alberta was predeceased by her son Roger, her sister Mary and her former-husband George. In fact, Alberta is the last of her generation of both Russells and Renzis.
Alberta is survived by two sons: George Robert “Bobby,” formerly of Norwalk, now of Voorhees, NJ; Howard and his wife Genevieve of Wyncote, Pa; and their 3 children in California: Michael of San Diego, Melissa of Los Angeles, and Lauren of Redondo Beach. Also, a great grandson: Patrick Renzi Gustafson.
Alberta is also survived by the family of her late son Roger: grandson Roger Matthew of Stamford, daughter-in-law Joanne Sullivan of Darien and her children, Timothy (and his family), Felicia and Lindsey.
She is also survived by niece Marcia Sykes of Chemung, NY.
Please join us in celebrating Alberta’s beautiful life on Thursday, December 4th, from 3 to 7pm at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT. Or, in her hometown on Saturday, December 6th, from 10am to 12 noon at Alteri-Bowen Funeral Home, 314 Desmond Street, Sayre, PA. She will be buried at Tioga Point Cemetery in Athens, PA.
Alberta absolutely loved flowers. If you’re so inspired, please send them.