Phela Vesci passed away peacefully on September 23, 2022, at age 98. Phela was born in Italy and came to the United States around the age of 15 with her mother and uncles to escape the looming threat of WWII. She resided in Sacramento for the remainder of her life and became an important part of our community. After arriving in Sacramento, Phela, her mother and her uncles made a new life for themselves, working extremely hard to get ahead. Phela talked about mowing lawns and working all hours of the day and night with her mother and uncles. Phela spoke lovingly of her mother and uncles to whom she devoted most of her life in working beside them to make their way in the United States and then caring for them until the end as they became ill and passed away. Phela was also devoted to her husband Victor J. Vesci who preceded her in death. Vic and Phela enjoyed a great life together, cruising the world and entertaining. Vic and Phela referred to each other as “my baby.” Phela took care of her baby Vic until he passed away in 2009. Phela could not wait to be reunited with her mother, uncles, and Vic in heaven.
Phela genuinely loved being Italian. But, without forgetting her Italian heritage, Phela also proudly celebrated the anniversary of her US citizenship. Phela always said that everyone is a little bit Italian at heart, especially at dinner time. Phela was a wonderful cook and gracious host of many dinner parties at her home. She was known for making homemade dishes, like risotto and made-from-scratch baked goods, for loved ones to pick up. She would call and say, “I have some food for you, come by the house tonight and get it.” If Phela called, you stopped by and usually ended up chatting and having a drink with Vic and Phela. Phela was exceptionally generous and giving to all, supporting many charitable causes throughout the Sacramento region as well as in Italy.
Phela touched the lives of so many with her generous support. She was especially devoted to helping children through her donations to local schools, orphanages, children’s hospitals, and many other charities benefitting children that are simply too numerous to mention. Phela was a strong Catholic who found great comfort in the caring arms of nuns as a young girl in Italy and throughout her life in the teachings of the Gospel. She held a special affinity for St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. Phela was a caregiver to all, always giving to and taking care of others before herself. She cared for so many in her life, and her work here is now complete. Phela will be greatly missed by all those who knew and loved her.