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Gilda DeCosta, 88, of School House Lane, Portsmouth, RI, passed away suddenly on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 at home.
Born in Newport, RI on December 17, 1927, she was the daughter of the late Antone and Georgianna (Pacheco) DeCosta. She was preceded in death by her brothers, Jesse Decosta, Anthony DeCosta, Edmund DeCosta, Joseph DeCosta and William DeCosta; and her sisters, Mary (DeCosta) Dias and Alice (DeCosta) Massed. She is survived by her brother-in-law, James DeCosta and his wife Carol of Portsmouth, RI; her sisters-in-law, Doris DeCosta of Middletown, RI and Christina Ferrieria of Bristol, RI; and 26 nieces and nephews, 45 great nieces and nephews, and 21 great-great nieces and nephews who lovingly called her “Aunt Jill”.
Gilda attended the Newport Public School System until she began her working career at Vallet Cleaners at the young age of 15. Shortly thereafter, she began a long and successful career at Sears and Roebuck, both at the Thames Street and Middletown locations for over 30 years, highlighted by her charismatic personality in the customer service department.
After marrying her husband in 1962, she accompanied him on his many work places, which took them overseas and many states here in the US. Finally in 1965, they settled in their new home in Portsmouth, RI where she remained until her death.
Gilda was a communicant of Jesus Saviour Church for over 80 years, where in her early years, she was an active member of the church theater group starring in numerous musical productions along with her sister Alice and niece Maryann. She was a regular singer and had many singing appearances on WADK, voice of the Azores.
Gilda continued to work tirelessly for her church as a member of the Children of Mary, the Rosary Sodality, the Holy Ghost Feast Committee, the Soup Kitchen and the Jesus Saviour Bazaar, where her smiling and vibrant personality will be sorely missed at the outside kitchen.
Gilda was an active member of the Vasco da Gama Society, serving as its Vice President for the last 20 years. In addition, she was the only female to hold the position of President of the club upon the passing of her nephew, Arthur Dias, in 1998.
She was always relied on to take many friends and family members on many appointments, shopping or just joy rides around town.
Noted for her culinary skills, she will always be remembered for her “Favas” and carrot cake.
Among the many awards she had received for her community service were 2001 Vasco da Gama Community Service Award, 2006 Newport Daily News Community Service Award, 2007 Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk Award, 2010 Jesus Saviour Church Parishioner of the Year Award and the 2014 Jesus Saviour Church Bazaar 50 Year Service Award.
Her home was always a place for anyone who came from near or far to visit or just needed a place to stay.
Gilda will be sadly missed by her extended family and all who had the pleasure to know her.
Calling hours will be held on Monday, May 30, 2016 from 3:00-600 p.m. in Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI.
Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 8:00 a.m. from the funeral home with a Mass of Christian Burial at 9:00 a.m. in Jesus Saviour Church, Broadway at Vernon Avenue, Newport, RI.
Burial will follow in St. Columba Cemetery, Browns Lane, Middletown, RI.
In lieu of flowers, donations in name may be made to the Vasco da Gama Portuguese/American Society, 15 Fenner Avenue, Newport, RI 02840.