Diva Ricci, 99 and one-half years old, passed away April 29, 2017 in Oakland, California after a brief illness. She was a feisty, funny, well-loved, strong, and brave woman. Diva was born October 18, 1917 in Lucca Italy to Casimiro Baccelli and Dina Nieri Baccelli.
Diva immigrated to the U.S. when she was 21. She worked in a cigar factory until her English skills improved enough that she landed her favorite job as a hat saleswoman at Emporium Capwell’s in Oakland. She often joked about how she charmed rich ladies into buying more hats than they ever needed. She had a vibrant life in the Italian-American community in Oakland and Alameda. She was a hard worker, USO volunteer, and loved dancing.
She met her husband, John Ralph Ricci, and was married in 1949. Together they raised four children. The family moved to Gardena, California in 1960 and later to Torrance, California in 1971. Diva was an enthusiastic volunteer in her church and in her children’s schools. She was a loving mother and grandmother extraordinaire. She loved to cook, entertain, travel, gamble, and laugh with friends. She enjoyed tiramisu and all things Italian, and she became an avid Los Angeles Dodgers fan.
In 2002, Diva moved back to Oakland and joined a new community of friends at Piedmont Gardens. She was an active and lively presence there, volunteering as a gift shop cashier and a companion to those in skilled nursing. Diva was often seen zipping along Piedmont Avenue in her walker, and she may have known every baby and pet dog in the zip code. As her life began to slow down, Diva moved to Sunrise Assisted Living of Oakland Hills, where she enjoyed outings, bingo, and (no surprise) joking with the staff.
Diva was predeceased by her husband, John in 1985 and by her brothers, Emilio, Ilio and Gino Baccelli.
She is survived by her children: Michael Ricci (Kitsy Ricci), Steven Ricci (Mannig Gurekian), Nancy Ricci (Dean Gloster) and David Ricci; grandchildren: Lara Ricci, Giovanni Ricci, Nicole Vienna, Christopher Ricci, Bryan Ricci, Kathryn Ricci, Alexandra Gloster, Jay Gloster, Jimmy Rice, Donald Stolan and Daniel Stolan; great grandchildren: Tobin Wagge, Madison Wagge, Connor Stolan, and Abigail Ricci.
In Italy, Diva is survived by her sister-in-law Vally Baccelli and many nephews and nieces: Dino, Roberta, Alberto, Elvira, Flavia, Vinicio, Stefano, Diletta, Dunia, Livio, Lorenzo, Gian Luca, Alessandro, and Romana.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated in Lomita, California by Bishop Joseph Sartoris at Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 10 AM. Burial will follow the Mass at Green Hills Memorial Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
A Celebration of Life event will be held in her honor at Piedmont Gardens on Saturday, June 10th at 2:30 PM, for her Northern California friends and family.
Memorial gifts may be made to Catholic Charities of the East Bay:
433 Jefferson St. Oakland, CA 94607 510-768-3100 http://www.cceb.org/
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017
Time: 10:00 am -
Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church
Address:25511 Eshelman Avenue, Lomita, CA, 90717
Date: Thursday, May 11, 2017
Time: 11:30 am -
Date: Saturday, June 10, 2017
Time: 2:30 pm -
Address:110 41st Street, Oakland, CA, 94611
Date: Thursday, January 1, 1970