Loved and Lost: Memorializing victims of COVID-19 in NJ
Loved and Lost is a project about memorializing those lost to COVID-19 in NJ.
This story is part of Loved and Lost, a statewide media collaboration working to celebrate the life of every New Jersey resident who died of COVID-19. To learn more and submit a loved one’s name to be profiled, visit lovedandlostnj.com.
Teresa Pacera was known as a bit of a troublemaker when playing poker with her family. She was also known for wearing her trademark sweaters and house coats, no matter the weather. Pacera, 92, who died on April 12, was a tenacious, adoring Italian mother and grandmother, according to her grandchildren.
A lifelong resident of Long Branch, Pacera was born on Oct. 27, 1928. She was an active member of her community and was involved with the Italian American Association. In addition, she worked in concessions at Monmouth Park and played cards and bingo with her loved ones. Pacera was also active in a bowling league and a parishioner of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, according to her granddaughter Suzie Grell Nunez.
When it rained, she just had to get dressed up for the occasion with a raincoat, rain hat, and boots.
Pacera instilled loyalty, strength, and the value of parenthood into the rest of her family. She even went so far as to apologize to her grandchildren for being their only living grandparent, but she was more than enough to her family, said Nunez.
Her husband, Peter Pacera, died in 1974, and she tried to compensate for the loss to the family, pouring even more energy into her role as mother and matriarch.
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Pacera lived many lifetimes, said Nunez, who remembers her “Nan” as a boss and very honest.
“You always knew where you stood with her,” Nunez said.
Brianna Colmenares is a student at William Paterson University.