Elizabeth "Betty" Sacco DeGuilo
March 27, 1936 – April 28, 2021
On March 27th, 1936 Elizabeth Sacco was born to Mary and William Sacco in Plainfield, NJ. She was the youngest child of four. Her parents along with her elder siblings, Angelo, Annemarie, and William, are deceased. Betty grew up in the working-class neighborhoods around Hamilton Boulevard, South Plainfield and undoubtedly forged her inner strength and spunky personality while playing with kids of all backgrounds. Complimenting her unswerving strength and loyalty, her mother bestowed upon her social grace and a profound faith that served her throughout her life. Betty attended South Plainfield High School through 10th grade at which point she was encouraged to drop out and attend beauty school with her sister. Against her wishes, she obligingly went while defiantly telling her school guidance counselor “I will be back!” Upon completing beauty school Betty’s sister Annemarie married and moved to Florida and so Betty began practicing her trade in local salons.
Betty met Ruben DeGuilo in 1954 and was not initially impressed. Yet thanks to his persistence they eventually married on October 7th, 1956. Moving to North Plainfield Betty gave birth to her first child in 1957, William and began to become civically involved in the community. When opportunity drew the family to Florida Betty provided stability and focus. Her second child, Stephanie was born in Florida in 1959. Shortly thereafter the family returned to North Plainfield, NJ and in 1961 their 3rd child, James was born. During this period Betty resumed her community activities including collecting 600,000 (six hundred thousand) Betty Crocker coupons to raise money for a kidney dialysis machine for the local Muhlenberg Hospital in Plainfield.
In December of 1966 tragedy shook the family when the youngest child, James was struck and killed by a car on his way to school. The community rallied around the family but it was surely Betty’s fortitude that carried them through the trauma and set the stage for coming years.
In 1970 the fourth child, Scott was born and as the times changed so did the family. Betty raised the children with her principles of independence, generosity and faith and proudly supported them as they grew and set out in the world. During this period Betty and Ruben began in earnest to pursue their passion of restoration; some call it ‘antique-ing’, ‘garage-saling’, ‘junking’ or ‘picking’. They were the original Pickers. They enjoyed finding neglected items to which they referred as “treasures” at garage-sales, yard-sales, estate-sales, auctions, flea-markets and off the side of the road to take them home and restore them to be resold. It was a constant source of amusement to see price tags on items in the household, which gave much more meaning to Ruben’s favored phrase, “you break it, you bought it!”
In 1986 Betty went back to high school at night to make good on a promise made more than 30 years before. Not only did she complete her diploma in 1987 but she tied for highest GPA in the class. In her valedictory address she pointedly remarked to her South Plainfield high school guidance counselor; “I wish you could see me now.” Truly, the fire and determination of her drive was at the center of her persona.
As her children became adults Betty and Ruby indulged their hobbies and their grandchildren and their friends. Always attentive to the comforts and needs of others the couple would routinely contribute to social funds and church requests. It was a common for there to be guests at holiday dinners who were homeless or suffered from food insecurity and other challenges and it was Betty’s vocation to serve them. When not feeding people, Betty made it her business to comfort the sick and isolated of her community. She shared her faith as an elixir to others and truly worked to live the life of Christ with Acts rather than words.
With all of the children out of the nest Betty and Ruben moved to Bogart, Georgia and settled into a retirement that was only in name. The schedule included attending church activities, picking, community activities and traveling to see family and friends. Most people retire from the level of activity that they kept.
Recently Betty grappled with declining health fighting both lymphoma and congestive heart failure. She passed at noon on April 28th, 2021 with loved ones holding her as she drew her last breath.
Betty is survived by her devoted husband, Ruben and their 3 living children, William of Green Brook, NJ, Stephanie of Watkinsville, GA, and Scott of Green Brook, NJ. In addition, Williams’ spouse, Joan and their three children, Eric, Caitlin and Kevin, Stephanie’s spouse, Robert and their daughter Melissa, Scott’s spouse, Lea and their sons Elliot, Benjamin and Simon. There are four great grandchildren, Emmy and Maggie (Eric & Barbara) and Hailey and Levi (Caitlin & Matthew).
Celebrations of Betty’s life are planned for July 8th, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Catholic Center at UGA and in New Jersey in July of 2021. Her remains will be interred to rest with son James at Holy Redeemer Cemetery in South Plainfield, NJ.
Bernstein Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Celebration of Life
The Catholic Center at UGA
Elizabeth "Betty" Sacco DeGuilo
May 4, 2021
So deeply saddened by the loss of a very special dear aunt and amazing great lady. So many countless wonderful memories of family holidays, parties and summer picnics at her lovely home in New Jersey. We especially remember and hold dear our many visits to her and Uncle Ruby while on our road trips south. The fondest and dearest was this past March when John and I stopped to visit while traveling back to New Jersey. Due to COVID restrictions we did not go in, but saw her from a window. We waved, blew her a kiss and told her we loved her. So very grateful for that opportunity. May she now be at peace at home with the Lord.
Our love, prayers and sympathy to all.
April 29, 2021
Betty Degulio was a wonderful kind thoughtful religious woman.
Betty also knew how to throw a party. Maybe 10 years ago she held a party at her home. All the Silver Angels were invited.Food was everywhere.
It was the most amazing event. I remember just walking with Betty and with my mouth open telling her it was beyond words. FOOD EVERYWHERE EVERY ROOM EVERYTHING PERFECT. THANKS BETTY
Betty looked like I was a bit daffy. Just had to say this about MRS BETTY