Laura Ellen Antinucci
1954-2015

 

The inspired chef, Roma, 2008

 

1966, Mrs. Volpicelli's 6th grade, Overseas School of Rome

Closeup -- that's Laurie in the middle.

 

Laura in 1967, and her brother Richard's drums

1970

2008 -- during one of Rome's regular floods

2008

2008 -- at Le Vasche (Viterbo) -- therapeutic soak in lovely natural hot spring pools

In 2008, Laura wrote:
Richard passed after an 18-month battle with brain cancer on January 2, 2005. He is survived by his first wife, Rochelle Cheever, his second wife Jenny Eriksson, his sons Richard Mark (27) and Christopher(25).

It was very sad to see him go so young... He was 49 years old and really wanted to live.

My brother Steven passed in April 2008. He was 51. He had acute leukemia. He is survived by his wife Adda Bein (27) and his son Ben (4).

If you remember her, my sister Ellen died from pancreatic cancer in 1997. She was 39.

There are six Antinucci siblings left now. Clearly, we screen for cancer (as best as we can). There is a hospital in Texas that is studying us.

Sorry to have to give you the bad news. Richard, Chris and Adda are all on facebook.

My four siblings and I live in Rome.

I have three children, Stefano (24), Alexander (16), and Flavia (13).

My Dad died in 1987 at age 57 of pancreatic cancer, and Mom of a heart attack in her sleep at 66 (1998) five months after my sister Ellen passed.

We have all suffered a lot.

On top of everything, in February of the year 2000, I separated from my Roman husband with four kids, and lost my second son Mark that year in December at age 12. A real tragedy. He had an autoimmune disease which affected his platelets which then caused a massive stroke. So you can imagine when the phone rings and we find out yet another sibling has cancer we are devastated!

Another brother, David (1969) had colon cancer about five years ago, but he got LUCKY, and had surgery, and is doing well. We are all amazed! It might be fairly obvious that we have a genetic mutation which predisposes us to several cancers. However, no matter how tough life gets, we must carry on - especially for our children.

My brother Victor is 43 now, and lives in Monterosi (about 20 km north of Olgiata) and has a boy Mark, 13, and a girl Carolyn, 10. He is very successful at his work with a pharmaceutical company.

Richard went to college at Rollins in Orlando, Florida, then went to work for my Dad and then became a very successful businessman in his own right. He was a food (and non food broker) and worked between Rome and the Middle East. He played acoustic guitar and listened to his favorite music on a super-duper stereo system. He divorced when his kids were young and got custody, so he was also a full-time Dad when he wasn't traveling. He did a great job with his boys. Richard Mark races Indy Lights. You can see his bio and races on the Indylight.com website. Chris graduated in Economics and is getting ready to go to a graduate school, maybe with a minor in surfing! They are both great kids, and my kids really enjoy hanging out with them a lot when we visit San Diego.

On February 28, 2015, she was reunited with her son Mark in the Virgili family tomb in the Cimitero del Verano in Rome.

Eulogy for Laurie

Laurie and I have been pals since third grade at what was then called OSR (no A) in 1962. Yes, in adulthood she preferred to be addressed as Laura but she gave me unique permission to use her childhood name, so to me she's always been Laurie.

She was the prettiest girl in the class, and a spirited one, too. She was always cheerful and saw the good side of everyone. We went to each other's birthday party each of those years. Jimmy McDivitt and Penny Pringle would also host birthday parties every year and we were a tight gang.

Those were Rome's anni d'oro. Those years were indeed golden. We had so much fun and such freedom. We had trips to the stabilimenti sulle spiagge di Ostia and roamed the meadows and caves behind Olgiata where the Antinucci family lived. And there were brilliant field trips with Mrs. Fabris, Miss Holt, Miss Coughlin, Mrs. Volpicelli, unforgettable teachers in our elementary school years.

In high school, we had Mr. Ceen, Mr. Brunchwig, Mr. and Mrs. Davidson, Miss Leary, Mrs. Zaller, Mr. O'Grady, Mrs. Roberts, Mr. MacFarlane, and Mr. Dewitt. Rome was a wonderful world in which to grow up. We ranged far and wide on our motorbikes. Laurie's brother Richard (alas also recently deceased) was the drummer in my first band. We played our first paying gig (for twentyfive thousand lire, which seemed to us a king's ransom) in OSR's cafeteria. Laurie was right there, dancing and singing with us.

We lost touch for a few decades after high school, busy with college, our growing families, and our careers -- Laurie stayed in Italy and became a lactation consultant; I moved to California and became a computer programmer. In the 1990s and 2000s I resumed travels to Rome, returning annually for business. Laurie and I would meet and lunch and catch up.

I will never forget the year (2000) her son Mark passed away. Laurie was like a sleep walker. She had entered a dark and bleak world. Her affect was flat and she could hardly make conversation. Losing a child is surely the harshest trial anyone could endure.

Still, we kept in touch, and when in 2008 I returned to Rome for a year with my own children. I wanted them to have a taste of what we'd had, and they loved it. Laurie and I resumed our friendship. It even blossomed briefly into a romance and moments I will always cherish. We had adventures -- trips to the vasche di Viterbo and the Castelli Romani. Our kids played video games together. And there were endless, fabulous dinners. What a great cook she was!

In 2014 it looked like she was going to realize her dream of returning to the United States to her family's country home in Oregon where she would start a new life. She was completing her divorce, and getting her kids launched in their own lives. At last, it was time for her to live her life for herself, to tackle projects that had been on her back burner for so many years, to have that "me time" she so justly deserved. I was looking forward to having her near me on the Left Coast. All this was cut short by her cancer diagnosis in November of that year. We texted and talked on the phone and I could hear her growing weaker. She lived four more months. Her passing has left a gaping hole in our world. But she has also left us so many sweet memories. Laurie, you'll live forever in our hearts.

-- Dan Keller, 2016