Elenita Italia Grega, 92, of Spartanburg, passed away from this world early in the morning on September 4, 2023, after an extended period of declining health, including a hard-fought battle with breast cancer. Elenita was born on February 19, 1931 in Capodistria, Italy. She was the daughter of the late Francesco and Maria Benedetti. She was a devout Catholic, and for as long as she was able, faithfully attended both St. Paul’s Catholic Church and The Church of Our Risen Savior Catholic Church at various times during her years in Spartanburg.
Elenita immigrated from Italy to the United States with her young family in 1956. She was a talented seamstress, and soon was earning money making custom dresses while also being a devoted stay-at-home Mom. In 1965, she began working for the J.C. Penney Company, where she remained for more than 30 years, working her way up to the position of office manager before her retirement. While employed there, she enjoyed her discount benefit to purchase an occasional piece of fine jewelry for herself, and carloads of beautiful clothing for her beloved grandchildren. She was an amazing cook, and her family members will sorely miss her famous breaded meat, perfect fried eggplant, green beans, and the world’s most tender beef tips with gravy. She was always a hoot when playing Uno during the holidays, regaling —and quite frankly, shocking — her family members with her colorful repartee. Without question, her greatest joy in life came from spending time with her grandchildren, and in more recent years, her great-grandchildren. She always had a special treat and/or a dollar or two hidden away for each of them at virtually every visit.
Elenita is survived by her two sons, Licio Pesaro (Juanita), of Spartanburg, and John Pesaro (Debra) of Pelzer, SC. In addition, she was beloved Nona to two granddaughters, Melissa Pesaro Ragan (Steven) of Spartanburg, and Rhea Pesaro (Stephen) of Ware Shoals, SC, and three cherished great-grandchildren, Adeline Grace Ragan, Eliza Leigh Ragan, and Malachi Dean Ragan, all of Spartanburg. Also surviving is a very special niece, Laura Rizzi (Barry) of Sydney, Australia. Elenita was predeceased by her former spouse, Claudio Pesaro; her second spouse, Andrew Grega; a sister, Nerea Rizzi of Sydney, Australia; and a brother, Sergio Benedetti, of Trieste, Italy.
A private funeral service for the family will be conducted soon, followed by interment in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, Spartanburg.
The families are in their respective homes.
The family would like to thank some remarkable caregivers and staff members at Eden Terrace of Spartanburg, and nurses and staff of Interim Hospice for their compassionate care and service to Elenita and to our family during her final difficult months. She definitely had her special favorites among them, and they know who they are. We will be forever grateful to them.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 161 N. Dean St., Spartanburg, SC 29302; St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, (https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html), or by mail to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or to the charity of one’s choice.