Obituary: Sheila Bertozzi
May 26, 1931 – December 19, 2021
Sheila Kenefick Bertozzi was born in Buffalo, New York on May 26, 1931, the daughter of Mary Goodyear Kenefick and Theodore Germain Kenefick. Sheila grew up in Buffalo with her sister, Kathleen Kenefick Cheney and brother Michael Kenefick. She attended Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia and Vassar College. After graduating she spent time in Ireland, before joining the U.S. Foreign Service and being posted to the U.S. Consulate in Trieste, Italy. During that time in Italy, she worked to support Hungarian refugees escaping the Hungarian uprising and making their way through then Yugoslavia into Italy. On a skiing trip to Cortina d’Ampezzo, she broke her leg. She was staying at the Hotel Ancora, where she met, loved and married Aldo Bruno Bertozzi, the eldest son of the hotel’s owners. Three of her four children: Stefano Bertozzi, Elena Bertozzi, and Alessandra Bertozzi Billingslea were born in Cortina. Their fourth child, Michael Bertozzi, was born in Buffalo. The family moved to Vail, Colorado in the earliest days of the resort’s founding. Sheila and Aldo then purchased the Buffalo Valley Inn restaurant in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and moved to Four Mile Ranch close to the Sunlight Ski Resort where the children grew up with many horses, farm animals, and a pond that froze over in the winter to make a perfect skating rink. Later, Sheila moved back to Buffalo where she served on the Board of the Buffalo Children’s Hospital and worked at the Buffalo Museum of Science. For years Sheila wintered in Palm Desert, California where she volunteered at the Living Desert as a docent for the giraffe exhibit and with the raptors. While in Palm Desert, she met and fell in love with Dr. Jerry Wildgen of Missoula, Montana. They subsequently made a home in the Marrakesh community of Palm Desert where they spent many happy years together. In her final years, Sheila moved to Alameda, California where she could be closer to her family.She died peacefully, surrounded by her family on December 19, 2021 in Alameda, California. In addition to her four children, she is survived by ten grandchildren: Clara and Amelia Bertozzi-Villa; Galen, Tessa, and Lena Bertozzi; Wesley, Dominique and Samuel Billingslea; Ana and Isabella Bertozzi; and a great granddaughter, Lily Billingslea. Sheila was a one of a kind woman, with an indomitable nature, who always knew who she was and what she wanted. She lived her life with a strong moral compass and will be remembered for her sense of humor, independent spirit, impeccable taste, her love of animals and her love of her family. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her memory to the Buffalo Children’s Hospital, the Buffalo Museum of Science or the Living Desert in Palm Desert.
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