Life Story / Obituary
With unwavering faith and wise compassion, Teresa Borgia lived a life rich in family and friends. Teresa was a woman who embodied the principles of her faith; she loved completely, forgave easily, believed in the power of prayer and contemplation, and always saw the best in others. A woman of her word, Teresa met each day with the quiet resolve to be her best and gratitude for the day's blessings. Hardworking, generous, and kind, Teresa proved a powerful role model for all who were blessed to know her.
Despite the obvious gloom of the Great Depression, the power of hope undulated in the hearts of many. With a natural drive to not just endure but thrive in the face of uncertainty, the nation continued to put one foot in front of the other to build a better future. Nowhere was there more hope for the future than in the home of Serafino and Antonia (Pizzoli) Borgia as they welcomed their daughter Teresa into their family on April 6, 1932.
During the early 1920's Teresa's father traveled to America to earn his citizenship, after which he brought his wife and two children at that time, to Grand Rapids, Michigan. While Serafino worked in the gypsum mines in west Grand Rapids, the family lived in housing provided by the mining company. Antonia was a homemaker who took care of her five children. She was also a master gardener whose careful labors provided fresh fruits and vegetables for her family. In 1948, Serafino bought a home with his son in law, Romeo Viventi, on Maynard Ave. N.W. The two families lived together at that location until 1992, enjoying many joyful gatherings of family and friends.
The fourth daughter of Serafino and Antonia, Teresa enjoyed close relationships with all of her siblings. Camilla, Santina, Erminia, brother Frank became lifelong friends. The Borgia family centered their lives on the values of faith and family. During the early 1950s, Teresa joined Holy Spirit Church. As a charter member of that parish, she often gave of her time and talents in the service of her community. Over the years, she served as president of the Altar Society, taught catechism classes, organized fundraising activities, and participated in the church prayer line.
Teresa graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1950. Neither Teresa nor her sister Erminia ever married; however, the sisters lived together until Teresa's passing. They remained close with their siblings, who lived in close proximity, and Teresa took on the role of family photographer. She enthusiastically ensured that every special event was chronicled in either photos or slides. During their early years, Teresa and Erminia traveled extensively, exploring the world in one another's good company.
Though Teresa never had children of her own, she showered her scores of nieces and nephews with love. She was also known to delight in the activities of the children in her neighborhood. Teresa and her sister kept a supply of candy treats in their home just in case a child came to the door.
Teresa embodied the principles of her faith, and her creed was her devotion to faith, family, and friends. Teresa's expression of faith was seen in her unwavering compassion for all, especially the least among us. She prayed daily for those who requested prayers for a special intention. Teresa's humility was most evident in how she kept her own views private while earnestly listening to others' beliefs. With great empathy, she withheld judgment of others and embraced everyone with love and acceptance. Teresa's undauntable work ethic was seen in her perseverance; quitting on her commitments was never an option.
Outside of church activities, Teresa loved to cook, managed beautiful vegetable and flower gardens, and relished in visiting her many nieces and nephews. She was a "super" and loyal Detroit sports fan and was always up for cheering on her teams' efforts. In her quiet times, Teresa loved crossword puzzles and reading the New York Times. Teresa believed strongly in social justice issues and supported everything from civil rights to marriage equality movements. She was also a proud union member and promoter of wage equality.
While it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Teresa's steadfast presence, we find much comfort in our many treasured memories. We also find peace in the hope that she is riding into a perpetual sunrise on the back of her nephew Joe Viventi's Harley. As we carry her legacy forward, we celebrate the many ways Teresa gifted our lives and inspired us to live wholeheartedly and with joy.
Teresa Borgia, age 88, passed away in the comfort of her home with her dear sister Erminia by her side on Saturday, August 1, 2020. She was born in Grand Rapids, MI in 1932 to the late Serafino and Antonia Borgia. Along with her parents, she is preceded in death by her sister Camilla and her husband Emereno Sciamanna, her sister Santina and her husband Romeo Viventi and her brother Francis "Frank" Borgia as well as by her niece Frances Heinemann and nephews Joseph Viventi, Michael Sciamanna, John Borgia and Alex Borgia. Teresa is survived by her sister Erminia Borgia and many beloved nieces and nephews. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Thursday, August 6, 2020, at 11 AM at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, (2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Grand Rapids MI 49504). Visitation will take place for one hour prior to the Funeral Mass at church on Thursday beginning at 10 AM. Teresa will be laid to rest in Resurrection Cemetery. To read more of Teresa's life story, leave a memory or condolence visit www.heritagelifestory.com