Catholic 02

Elsa Pierucci Wilson

August 31, 1927 ~ September 23, 2020 (age 93)


In loving memory of our beautiful wife, mother, and nonna, Elsa Pierucci Wilson, who passed peacefully on September 23, 2020 at the age of 93.  She was born in her beloved Livorno, Italy on August 31, 1927. Elsa was the daughter of the late Federico and Alfreda Pierucci.  She was preceded in death by the love of her life and soulmate Ernest Melvin Wilson.  Ernest and Elsa fell in love during WWII and were married for 68 years.  She was also preceded in death by daughter Joy, siblings Giuseppe, Luciano, Josephina, Paolo, Umberto, daughter-in-law Barbara Wilson, and cherished family member Russ Vanfossen. Elsa will be remembered for her unwavering devotion to faith and her unfailing love and cherishing of family and lifelong friends.  She was a caregiver at heart and embodied the Italian saying, “amor di madre, amore senza limiti”- “a mother’s love has no limits.”  She was an extraordinarily strong woman and opened her heart, home, and life to all.  “Nonna” was the heart and soul of her family who gave her children and grandchildren the incredible gifts of Italian culture, Italian food, Italian opera, Italian shoes and handbags, Italian jewelry… tutti Italiano.  By creating the most amazing Christmases and constant welcoming of family and friends at the table she taught us that not all heroes wear capes- some wear aprons.  Elsa leaves a legacy of teaching by example that there is no greater success than loving well.  Her example of a life well lived and faith in God will forever be embossed on the hearts of her family.  Left behind to cherish her memory are her sons Luciano Wilson (Charla), and Ernest Wilson Jr., daughters Rosanna Orchel (Stan), Gloria Godwin (Paul), Lala Wilson (Polly), Annette Bashensky (Victor), and Barbara Dance (Marlon), as well as 12 adoring grandchildren Krista Boardman, Molly and Grace Wilson, Brian Wilson, Christopher and Matthew Orchel, Erica and Jonathan Godwin, Justin Lucy, Cara Downer, Alexander and Sofia Bashensky and great-grandchildren Wyatt, Jonah, Harper, Hampton, and Benton.  She is also survived by her sister Piera Calvetti and numerous beloved nieces and nephews.  We are who we are because of what you were and your love made all the difference. Grazie mama per il tou ammore e ispirazione. Ti amiamo sempre. Ciao tesoro.  A Funeral Mass will be held at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 151 W. Washington Street, Petersburg, Virginia 23803, with Fr. Brian Capuano officiating.   Interment will follow in St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery, Petersburg, Virginia.  The family will receive friends from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, September 27, 2020 at the Colonial Heights Chapel of the E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes & Crematory, 2033 Boulevard, Colonial Heights, Virginia 23834.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Joseph Catholic Church, Capital Building Fund, P.O. Box 2006, Petersburg, Virginia 23804. Condolences may be registered at

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September 27, 2020

2:00 PM to 5:00 PM
E. Alvin Small Funeral Homes & Crematory
2033 Boulevard
Colonial Heights, VA 23834

Funeral Mass
September 29, 2020

11:00 AM
St. Joseph Catholic Church
151 W Washington Street
Petersburg, VA 23803

Interment following funeral service
September 29, 2020

St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery
535 S. Crater Road
Petersburg, Virginia 23803

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