In Memory of



Obituary for Elaine Pessia

On Thursday, May 14, 2020, Elaine Ethel Pessia, nee Spetko, age 83, passed peacefully at The Pines of Poughkeepsie due to complications caused by the COVID-19 virus, a few days before her 84th birthday.

On May 17, 1936, Elaine was born to Katerina Franczen and Mikulas Spetko of Velke Levare, Slovakia, in Bronx, New York. Elaine grew up in the Bronx with her older brother Nicholas.

Elaine met Matthew Vassallo, M.D. on a park bench in the Bronx; he was her first love. The couple married in June 1957, and a year later, their first son Anthony arrived. Four years later, Elaine and Matthew welcomed a second son, Mark. A year later, Elaine gave birth to her first daughter, Madelynn. Elaine was a stay-at-home mom to her three children in the City of Poughkeepsie. She was active in the St Mary’s of Poughkeepsie parish, including serving as a Cub Scout den mother, a substitute teacher, and an afternoon teacher for the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes. She was well-loved by the nuns, faculty members, and clergy of St Mary’s. In her free time, Elaine enhanced her creative abilities by painting nature scenes or baking cookies.

After Elaine and Matthew decided to divorce, she met Donald Pessia, a musician, who became her second husband and final love. The couple resided in Wappingers Falls where they had their first child, Victor Pessia in 1974, and then in the following year, they had Elaine’s last child Catherine Santoro, nee Pessia. The couple remained together until 2000 when Donald passed away. In her spare time, Elaine volunteered for The Girl Scouts and worked as a part-time Fotomat cashier.

Elaine will be remembered for her gentle personality, wit, and caring nature towards everyone. She was a voracious reader, had a gregarious personality and a contagious laugh. She had a generous heart and was beloved by her children’s classmates and friends whom she always welcomed into her home.

Elaine is predeceased by her parents Katerina Franczen and Mikulas Spetko, her brother Nicholas, and her husband, Donald. She is survived by her five children, Anthony Vassallo of Brooklyn, New York, Mark Vassallo of New York, New York, Madelynn Vassallo of New London, New Hampshire, Victor Pessia of Wappingers Falls, New York, and Catherine Santoro of Wappingers Falls, New York. In addition to her five children and their spouses, Elaine is survived by eight grandchildren, Christopher, Dante, Theresa, Jessica, Michael, Gabriella, Rebecca, and Aidan, and one great-grandchild, David.

She will be forever loved and missed by those who were fortunate enough to know her. There will be a celebration of her life at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to The Pines of Poughkeepsie or a charity of your choice.