Estella H. Santa Maria, 100, WWII plane builder - The Buffalo News

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Estella H. Santa Maria, 100, WWII plane builder

Aug. 29, 1913 – July 22, 2014

Estella H. Santa Maria, who was among the generation of women who went to work in factories during World War II, died Tuesday in her daughter’s home in Houston. She was 100.

Known as Stella, she was born Estella D’Addario in Buffalo and was a former resident of West Seneca. During World War II, she worked at Curtiss-Wright building airplanes; she was “Stella the Riveter,” an adaptation of the phrase used to describe working women of that era.

Mrs. Santa Maria also had worked for Sterling Glass in Buffalo and the West Seneca Tax Assessor’s Office.

A longtime parishioner of Fourteen Holy Helpers Catholic Church in West Seneca, she was known to march her six children to Mass every Sunday, no matter what.

She also was active in the community, serving as Parent Teacher Association president, president of the Aquila Society and a longtime member and a president of the Sister Elizabeth Kenny Foundation of Western New York. She also was active in Florida, where she served on the board of the Biscayne Condominium Association.

She enjoyed dancing the Charleston and was known for her baking, especially homemade pies.

Her husband, Joseph S., died in 1993.

Survivors include two sons, Benedict J. and Joseph J.; two daughters, Carol N. Vasquez and Nancy Cumagun; a sister, Elsie DeFilippi; 12 grandchildren; and 19 great-grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 2 in St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 200 St. Gregory Court, Amherst.

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