Violenza “Babe” Bertozzi Neumann: March 22, 1917 – May 13, 2011

            She’s gone.  Our beloved mother and nona, Babe, passed away two weeks ago, and we’re still in a resigned state of shock.  For those of you who knew Babe through “Bianca’s Vineyard,” you know that she was a unique woman with an amazing family history. 

Violenza Bertozzi didn’t let her mother’s mental instability or abandonment dictate her life.  With the love of her father Egisto and her brother Silverio sustaining her, Babe overcame the odds to become a loving, faithful matriarch to her own family.  She made friends with everyone, and those who knew her — who were touched by her joy and compassion — can testify of her extraordinary spirit.

Babe, front right

As an Italian-American, Babe personsified the best of both worlds.  She loved life to the full.  And like many Italians, she was never in a rush; never too busy to stop and chat, or give a listening ear to someone who needed it.  In the footsteps of her father, she was an artist; a truly great pianist.  When we remember Babe, we can hear her playing her repertoire from the days she was a professional musician; songs she continued playing til the end of her life.

Babe was also a consummate athlete as well, a gift that was bred in her from her youth in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Whether it was ice-skating, tennis, bowling or golf, Babe excelled at it.  She played a mean golf game well into her 80’s and enjoyed watching sports til the day she died at the age of 94.

This last year, following the publication of “Bianca’s Vineyard,” was particularly rewarding for Babe and myself.  The book brought a semblance of closure for her and she thoroughly enjoyed going to book presentations and signing copies of the book.  Thank God I was able to tape an interview with her last year.  Seeing it now, with her gone, is both heart-breaking and comforting. 

     During her stay in CCU following a heart-attack she suffered on May 10, some nurses approached us and said they heard there was a book about Babe.  Intrigued by Babe already, they asked for copies of the book and for her signature.  Seeing Babe smile with pride as she feebly signed her name was priceless.  I’ll never forget the moment.

 How we miss you Babe.  You will never be forgotten.

3 Comments

  1. Posted on June 3, 2011 at 5:00 am by Jean Moss

    I truly feel like I knew Babe from reading the book and knowing Teresa. I am so sorry that I never got to meet her. Even tho I didn’t know her, I know she will be missed. I’m so sorry for the loss.

  2. Posted on June 3, 2011 at 1:50 pm by Carlo Stellati

    Cara Violenza ( Babe), TI SCRIVIAMO IN ITALIANO,LA TUA LINGUA ORIGINARIA, ANCHE SE NON RIUSCIVI MOLTO A PARLARLO. ORA, DAL PARADISO, SEI IN GRADO DI CAPIRCI :
    HAI RAGGIUNTO DICK, SILVERIO, BIANCA,BICE, RINA DANILO E TUTTI GLI ALTRI PARENTI ITALIANI E NON. TUTTI INSIEME BENEDITECI E FATE IN MODO CHE LA NOSTRA VITA SIA LO SPECCHIO DELLA VOSTRA.
    VI ABBRACCIAMO TUTTI….
    Carlo, Lucia e tutti i Bertozzi italiani.
    LOVE!!!!!!!

  3. Posted on August 27, 2011 at 7:42 pm by Lynn Dunsworth Snowden

    Teresa I read this with tears streaming down my cheeks. Babe was such an integral part of my life from the time I was a seven year old child. My memories of her drinking her beloved wine, the cackle of her laughter, and the magic she brought to our world thru her music, flood me as I read what you’ve written. My life was truly better, because Babe was a part of it. She will be truly missed on this earth – but I know she will be greeting us on golden streets in the life to come. Thank you.

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