Going through some of his mother's things this week, Tony D'Angelo found a letter he had written to her years ago, a note in which he reminded Priscilla D'Angelo to make time for herself. She spent so much of her life thinking about others, he said. "She was selfless," he said.
Going through some of his mother’s things this week, Tony D’Angelo found a letter he had written to her years ago, a note in which he reminded Priscilla D’Angelo to make time for herself.
She spent so much of her life thinking about others, he said.
“She was selfless,” he said.
D’Angelo, 87, of Upper Arlington, died Sunday at Westminster-Thurber Community, said Gene D’A ngelo, her husband of 63 years. She had suffered several serious strokes, and her health had steadily worsened, he said.
Priscilla D’Angelo’s devotion extended beyond her immediate family and throughout central Ohio.
She served at various times on the boards of the King Arts Complex, the Ohio Historical Society, and at Ohio University. She took the last post at the urging of Gov. Jim Rhodes, who asked her to serve after learning that Tony D’Angelo was a student there, Gene D’Angelo said.
“She loved it, and she dove in there really hard,” Tony D’Angelo said.
Gene D’Angelo said he met his future wife, then Priscilla Ruth Smith, at a swimming pool in Upper Arlington. She told him to call her, but he didn’t until a week or so later.
“I went through 17 Smiths in the phone book before I got to her,” he said. “She said, ‘I thought you were going to call me.’ I said, ‘I am calling you.’”
Actress Beverly D’Angelo said her mother had been a rock for her and her three brothers.
“I learned what honesty was from growing up with her,” she said from California last night. “I learned what love looked like. I learned what devotion looked like.”
Priscilla D’Angelo had always been an exceptional student, from her time at the Columbus School for Girls and at Smith College, her husband said. She took classes well past her school years. Gene D’Angelo recalled that when a doctor once told his wife that she might lose her sight, Priscilla responded by learning Braille.
Tony D’Angelo remembered his mother as a masterful organizer who planned the family’s dinners two weeks in advance and hung their clothes in their closets based on color.
“I thought everyone lived that way,” he said, chuckling. “I thought everyone alphabetized their spice racks.”
After her three sons and daughter were grown, D’Angelo opened her home to exchange students.
She was a competitive swimmer who medaled in the Senior Olympics and an excellent skier, her husband said.
“She was a great lady, my wife,” he said.
Beverly D’Angelo said her mother’s kindness “was beyond compare.” She and actor Chevy Chase, in fact, worked a tribute to her into the last Vacation movie, Vegas Vacation.
When Clark and Ellen Griswold renew their vows, D’Angelo said, Ellen’s full name is revealed: Ellen Priscilla Ruth Smith Griswold.
“There are so many times in my life when I would have been lost without her,” she said.