Vilma Marie (Rocchi) Grassi was born in New York on August 17, 1930, from there she travelled to many places in the world. Wherever she went she made a difference.
She passed away peacefully at her home on April 18th, 2019.
Born to Lena and Pompeo Rocchi, Vilma was raised with her brother, Jerry, and cousin, Nello, in the suburbs of NYC. She also spent time in Italy during her childhood and never forgot her family there.
She graduated high school early and went directly to attend Hunter College in Manhattan where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education. While teaching she also did work towards a PhD in Foreign Languages.
She met Mario Grassi through dancing and their parents. They were married in November 1960. Shortly thereafter the military whisked them off to the unknowns of Alaska. Instead of spending an eighteen month hardship tour as was the plan, she stayed for 59 years and built her life here.
Vilma taught first grade for 20+ years at Aurora Elementary School and she was so very proud of her students and the deep friendships she made there. Vilma’s time was spent being involved in many groups and helping others wherever she could, including through her teachers’ sorority Alpha Delta Kappa, Fairbanks Garden Club, Retired Teachers Association, the Pioneers, and Sacred Heart Cathedral. She filled her days sewing many beautiful things, reading voraciously, gardening, encouraging and supporting her children in all their endeavors, and spoiling her grandchildren with love. Always she opened her heart and home to others and shared her table with countless friends and adopted family. She truly embodied her title of “Mama Grassi”.
She was a kind, generous, fierce woman, whose presence will be missed by all of us.
She is survived by her children and their families: Odette Grassi; Gary, Beth and Gabriel Grassi; Kent, Monica and Gelsemina Grassi.
A Viewing will be held at Blanchard Family Funeral Home at 611 Noble Street from 4-7pm, Friday, April 26th with a Rosary said at 430pm.
A Funeral Mass will be held at Sacred Heart Cathedral at 1300 Peger Road at 130pm, Saturday, April 27th, with a reception at Vilma’s home from 330-730pm.
If you would like to make a donation in her name, in lieu of flowers or such, her sorority will use the donations for educational scholarships. Please make donations to Alpha Delta Kappa (ADK) at either of the services or mail to: ADK, P.O. Box 72568, Fairbanks, AK 99707.