Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
There was great rejoicing on Gaudete Sunday, December 17, 2023, when Alice Loretta Dunn Buttarazzi of Auburn, NY entered her eternal home. After 85 years of dedicating her life in loving mercy to her family, friends and neighbors, the mother of fourteen children and wife of the late Dr. Patrick J. Buttarazzi, departed as her children sang by her bedside Alice’s unique version of “Show Me the Way to Go Home.” Moments later, she was greeted on the other side of the firmament by her beloved husband, parents, brother and granddaughter and many others whom she lovingly served in her journey to this well-earned eternal reward.
The oldest daughter of Dr. Edward and Ruth Dunn, Alice grew up in Brooklyn Heights, NY, the third oldest of six siblings, and was an independent, fun-loving but intelligent and prayerful soul. Lolly, as her father called her, was demure enough to pirouette through her childhood role as a sugar plumb fairy in the morning but was also scrappy enough to swing at pitches in a stick ball game along brownstone-lined streets that same afternoon. Hers was a style that would carry this mark of effortless grace and undaunted fortitude throughout her life.
Alice met her future husband in the operating room, while attending The Georgetown University School of Nursing. Soon after she graduated at the top of her class, she married Pat; she would thereafter be his rock throughout their 63 years of holy matrimony. She recently shared how amazed she was at the heart’s capacity for love when she gave birth to her first child: “And then I had another child and then another. I learned that there are no limits to love.” Not that being a mom is ever easy or without pain and sacrifice, but Alice’s tenacious faith allowed her to hand off her worries about tomorrow to our Lord while she nurtured in the present.
The responsibility of motherhood did not keep Alice from being active outside the home. She served two terms on the Board of Education for the Auburn Enlarged City School District and established a local chapter of Birthright International to provide care, counseling and resources for women facing an unexpected pregnancy. She also provided the bookkeeping for her husband’s medical practice. Her common refrain, “Once a nurse, always a nurse,” meant that Alice brought her healing skills into the infirmaries of the local schools and the Hillside Children’s Center Finger Lakes Campus.
Alice loved company. Whether sunning lakeside at Edgewater Beach Club on Owasco Lake, skiing the gentle slope of Skaneateles Ski Club, hosting summer clambakes, swinging a racket on a tennis court or dining out with her husband at the many wonderful restaurants in and around Auburn, she could not help but be social with her many friends and even complete strangers. Her disarming smile exuded warmth that invited you into sharing her joy of being in the world.
So just in time for another great birthday this Christmas, Alice has joined the heavenly celebration to great praise and fanfare. She leaves behind gifts of many happy memories and continues her work of mercy in prayerful advocacy for her caregivers, children, fifty-eight grandchildren, one great grandchild, her siblings, and friends, that they may see what she sees today. Her life is a powerful testimony to finding happiness by living for others.
Alice’s children are forever grateful to the caregivers Laura, Lorie, Mary, Gerri, and Rose who helped Alice’s daughters provide their mom with the special attention that made everyone’s final months with her filled with grace. Calling hours will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 27th at the Pettigrass Funeral Home on 196 Genesee Street and a mass of Christian burial will be on at 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 28, 2023, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, you may donate to the Hillside Foundation.