Aug 20, 1930 - Sept 11, 2018
Our dear loving, funny, stubborn, worldly mother and wife passed away after a long illness at home in Palo Alto surrounded by her boys, Joseph and David, and her husband, Stanley on September 11, 2018.
Anita Zerpoli was born in 1930 in New York City. She was adopted at the age of two by Amelia Laspisa after her birth mother died of tuberculosis and her father abandoned the family. She was raised in the Bronx during the Great Depression, WWII, and the immediate post-war years. Anita attended Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx and graduated in 1948. It was at Columbus High School that she first met her future husband Stanley. Anita left New York City in 1948 to attend the University of Michigan on scholarship. Although she visited often, she never again lived in New York City. In Ann Arbor, Anita again met Stanley and married him at the age of 20. Anita & Stanley were married for 68 years. Anita made friends at Michigan she remained close with for the rest of her life. She graduated in 1952 with a bachelor’s degree in English. During college she wrote plays, one of which was produced at the university.
Following college she and Stanley lived in New Hampshire, Maine, Philadelphia, Texas, and later West Germany. During this time, she was a young mother & wife, while Stanley completed his residency and later worked as a physician in the United States Air Force. Anita taught English to West German Army enlisted men in Texas in the early 1960s. After 3 years of living in Bitburg, West Germany, she and family returned to the United States in 1966. That summer they moved to Palo Alto where she lived for the next 52 years.
Anita was a voracious reader of literature and a dedicated student of language. Throughout her life she studied and spoke German, Spanish, and later Italian. She participated in German and Italian conversation groups for most of her adult life. She also enjoyed opera, ballet and traveling. Anita and Stanley returned to Europe on numerous occasions, primarily to England, Italy, Germany, and France, often visiting friends they had made on their previous trips.
Anita had a great sense of humor and some amusing quirks as well. She avoided much that was modern. It took many years for her to allow a microwave oven into her kitchen, she never owned a cell phone, preferred to read rather than watch TV, and questioned the necessity of many modern conveniences. Her penchant for obsessing over the ingredients listed on food labels, unusual in the 60s, became normal by the 90s. For many years, she was known to hand out raisins and apples on Halloween, much to the ire of the neighborhood kids. Having grown up poor, she always had compassion for the underdog, and was a true “bleeding heart” liberal. Though raised Catholic she only rarely attended church, but when she did she would bemoan the disappearance of the Latin mass, this despite the fact that her Latin was almost non-existent. She also loved the outdoors, worked for a period for a local environmental organization, and spent many a day visiting Foothill Park and Santa Cruz beaches with her children when both she and they were young.
Anita will be sorely missed. The family will hold a private celebration of her life with friends and family in Sunnyvale.