Elizabeth Patricia Forlenza, age 99, passed away peacefully on April 14, 2021, at The Village at the Harbor. At the end of her days, she was graciously cared for by Hospice of San Juan Island and Hospice of Northwest Washington.
Elizabeth moved to Friday Harbor in 2005 and at age 96, finished a life dream of writing her memoir, “Travels with My Samba-Mad Husband.” The book covers two decades from 1950–1970 and describes living throughout South America with her international executive husband, Anthony Forlenza who died in 2003. They were married for 60 years.
For most of her later years, Elizabeth considered herself an emerging writer. She credits the weekly writers’ group, The Whale Talers, not only for believing in her creativity but for helping her find her writing voice. Giving her occupation as “Relocation Expert and Transportation Specialist,” she recounts in her memoir the excitement, hilarity, frustrations and sometimes heartache of following her ambitious WWII Naval veteran husband, who dreamed about living and working in Latin America, and enjoyed the Latino ambiance, especially dancing.
In 1940, Elizabeth started her college education at Queen’s College in New York and completed her BA at Drew University at age 67. She graduated magna cum laude and described it as one of the happiest days of her life. Several years later living in Sarasota, Florida, she was certified as a Master Gardener by the University of Florida. While in Sarasota, she also volunteered as a guardian ad litem, advocating for the interest of children in family court.
She is survived by her sons Paul (Kathleen Kolb), Marc (Denece Kost), Matthew (Aide Forlenza) and Peter; by her grandchildren Yasmin Dalton (John), Nicholas DeToro Forlenza, Ariana Detoro Forlenza Wulff (Mark) and Antonia Forlenza; by great-grandchildren Antonio and Mateus Dalton, Luna and Torin DeToro Forlenza Wulff.
Elizabeth’s family is grateful for the support and care of the Hospice and Village staffs and all her Friday Harbor caregivers, especially Linda Castleman, Jane Barnett, Carma Flynn and many San Juan friends. The family is very appreciative of the long-term management of Elizabeth’s overall care by her son, Peter.
A memorial service will be planned for the future. Donations in her memory can be made to Hospice of San Juan, www.hospiceofsanjuan.org.