THE DALLES — Gilia Jacuzzi Peruzzo, a member of St. Peter Parish here, died March 21. She was 105.
Mrs. Peruzzo was born in the Italian village of San Vito al Tagliamento in the province of Udine on Sept. 15, 1908. Her older brothers had come to the United States starting in 1907. When her father realized his sons were not going to return to Italy, he decided the whole family should move to the San Francisco Bay Area. His plans were delayed by the outbreak of World War I.
In 1920 the last nine members of the Jacuzzi family in Italy were able to come to America. The family settled in Berkeley, Calif. Mrs. Peruzzo and her sister Stella were sent to Burbank Junior High School. With the completion of the eighth grade, Mrs. Peruzzo had to quit school and go to work to because of a tragedy that engulfed the family.
She found a job in San Francisco sewing pillows. She commuted daily on a ferry boat with two of her sisters who found jobs as seamstresses.
In her early teens she met Jack Peruzzo, who came from a small town very close to hers in Italy. The two were married in Berkeley at St. Joseph's Church in 1925. She continued working as a seamstress getting a job at Olga's Wash Frock Shop in Berkeley.
She received her citizenship papers during the 1930s. In 1954 her husband's job took him to Portland. The couple settled in Milwaukie on Oatfield Road and were long time parishioners at St. John the Baptist. Mrs. Peruzzo became active in the League of Women Voters and the committee to start a community college in Clackamas County.
The committee was successful and she was honored for her work in the college's creation.
She continued her activities with the league until she moved to the Springs of Mill Creek 11 years ago. At her assisted living home, she spearheaded a campaign to get a proper flag pole and American flag to honor American veterans. She was well-known for giving advice saying that at her age she could say anything she wanted.
She is survived by her three children, Nilda (Dan) Rego of Moraga, Ca.; Esther (George) Regula of Portland and Dr. Peter (Karen) of The Dalles. Also surviving are 11 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Services were held at St. Peter's Catholic Church in The Dalles. She was buried at Gethsemani Catholic Cemetery in Portland.