Egeziaca Rufa turns 106

Egeziaca Rufa of Westerlo

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Egeziaca Rufa of Westerlo

WESTERLO — Egeziaca Rufa was born on Nov. 20, 1913 — before the start of World War I, before automobiles were common, before most homes had indoor plumbing.

She was born in Italy and lived her young life on the outskirts of Rome. In 1941, she moved with her family to the United States.

“It was my father’s idea to come over,” said her son, Peter Rufa. “We came over in 1954 and my father died the next year, in 1955.”

Mrs. Rufa supported herself and her four children as a seamstress. “She worked in sweatshops as soon as she got here,” said her son. “She was 42 when my father died. She never remarried. She raised us on her own.”

The family settled in the Bronx. “A lot of drugs were going on there. I had two kids, teenagers,” said Peter Rufa. “I said, ‘Let’s move before something happens to them.’”

The family moved to Westerlo where Mrs. Rufa has been very happy for the last 30 years, her son said.

“She loves it here,” said Mr. Rufa.  “She kept her own garden — tomatoes, beans, swiss chard, zucchini; she loves them all.”

Mrs. Rufa turned her garden produce into delicious meals, her son said. “She loves to cook … Italian stuff. She makes her own pasta,” said her son. One of her specialty dishes is lasagna.

As Mrs. Rufa has aged, her son’s wife has taken on the gardening and cooking.

“She’s very low key,” Mr. Rufa concluded of his mother. “She loves company.”

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