Teresa Madeline Dalessi

October 30, 1922May 3, 2018

Teresa M. Dalessi passed away peacefully on May 3, 2018. She was born October 30, 1922 in San Rafael to Martina Milani Dalessi and Leo Henry Dalessi. From age three she lived in the family home on Marin Street in San Rafael only one block from where her father grew up. Her grandfather Dalessi came to Marin from Cavergno, Switzerland in the 1870’s. He was a dairyman leasing the Austin Ranch in Sleepy Hollow, Fairfax. In the early 1900’s, after the family moved to Clark Street, he along with his older son Olimpio, served as a volunteer fireman for the city of San Rafael. Teresa was proud of her Swiss heritage and spent her early retirement years researching the Dalessi family history discovering many previously unknown cousins in California and Switzerland. She was just as proud of her Italian heritage. Her mother arrived from Lonate Pozzolo, Italy in 1919. Teresa and her sister, Olivia were co-founders of Gruppo Lonatese, an organization that developed from their research into the documentation of the story of Italian immigrants from Lonate Pozzolo and nearby towns. Gruppo Lonatese preserves the Italian immigration experience and culture and provides grants to individuals interested in learning the language and culture of Italy and grants to those planning visits to northern Italy. Teresa attended kindergarten at Short School, elementary at Saint Raphael School, Saint Anselm’s High School, and Dominican College. She taught forty years in the Novato School District commencing in 1943 and retiring in 1985. She loved children and continued working with children in the San Rafael Public School District as a volunteer and in the Saint Raphael’s Religious Education program for public school children long after retirement. Teresa was a lifelong member of St. Raphael Church. She served many years as coordinator of the Ministry to the Homebound, assigning ministers to visit the sick. She continued visiting the sick until she was no longer able to do so. After Olivia’s death, she moved to Nazareth House where she died. She served as President and Treasurer of Lagan Institute #52, Y.L.I., President of Gruppo Lonatese, President of Alpha Delta Kappa, Alpha Upsilon Chapter. She was a member of Marin County, California, and National Retired Teacher’s Associations, Delta Kappa Gamma, Epsilon Zeta Chapter, The Marin History Society, Tomales Historical Society and Bolinas Museum. Teresa was devoted to her sister, Olivia, her cousin William Gagen and his wife, Marianne, and their sons, Daniel, Neil, Patrick and their families. She was happy to have lived a long life, enabling her to have the joy of knowing Neil Gagen’s children, Madeline and William. She cherished the members of her extended family, her wonderful neighbors, her friends and their children and the many cousins in Italy and Switzerland. She had a love of history, reading, photography, traveling and playing Bocce. She was generous and loving, and loved by countless people. We will miss her love. A Mass will be celebrated at Mission San Raphael in San Rafael on Thursday morning, May 10th at 11:00 AM, followed by a luncheon at San Rafael Joe’s, 931 4th St. Burial will be attended by her family. In lieu of flowers, a donation in her name can be made to St.Raphael’s Church, 1104 5th Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901 or St. Raphael’s School, 1100 5th Ave., San Rafael, CA 94901


  • Visitation Wednesday, May 9, 2018
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, May 10, 2018

Teresa Madeline Dalessi

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