Stella Dancey, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, Yaya, and friend departed this life on March 24. She displayed the same strength, grace, and courage in her death as she did in her long and beautiful life.
Stella was born in 1922 in New Brunswick to Vassillios Gitantzides and Kalliope Tsoukaladakis, who both emigrated from Greece. Her father, who was known as “Bill the Barber” at Curchin’s Barber Shop in Red Bank, was a proud patriot of his adopted country. Her mother was a seamstress and the daughter of olive farmers on the island of Samos.
Stella graduated from New Brunswick High School in 1940 and was trained soon after as a secretary. She started work at Camp Evans in Belmar during World War II, where she met her husband Frank after his service in Africa and Italy in the Army Air Forces. Soon after her marriage in 1948, Stella was employed at Fort Monmouth where she supported our military members during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. During her career she had three children, John, Michael, and Kathy and raised them in Shrewsbury where she and Frank made their home. She retired from Fort Monmouth in 1981, where she was able to work for many years with her sister, Catherine “Casey” Ross. After retiring, Stella enjoyed spend- ing time with Frank, her family, and friends and attending reunions with Frank’s World War II Bomber Group. Stella was vivacious and driven. She made sure to get every last bit that this life has to offer.
She was predeceased by her parents; a brother, John; and her husband of 63 years in 2011. She is survived by her sister, Catherine Ross, and her three children: John Dancey and wife Denise, Michael Dancey and wife Liana, and Kathy Boyle and her fiance’ Tom. Stella is survived by a host of “grands” and “great grands” on whom she and Frank doted. Grandchildren: Lisa, Stephen, Kate, Geoff, Allison, Alyssa, Jennifer, Meghan, Adrienne, Colin, Gregory and Frank. Stepgrandchildren: Michael, Kristin, and Matthew. Great grandchildren: Hannah, Elizabeth, Maya, Tziporah, T.J., Avrahaim, Jacob, Emma, Sarah, Mordecai, Samuel, Kenzie, Gwynneth, Shimon, Nia, Parker, Braxton and Esther. Stepgreat- grandchildren: Leah and Odin. Lastly, Stella is survived by her nieces, nephews, cousins and friends, as well as her loving caregiver, Maryann Marquez, whom she was blessed to be with for almost four years. Stella was a beautiful soul. She will be remembered in every mother and child embrace, fresh air smell in sheets on the clothesline, and handwritten letters, all of which she was so fond.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church, Ocean, on Thursday, March 31 at 10 a.m. Interment service to follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Middletown. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Ocean or St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Stella’s favorite charity.
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