Vivian Louise DeLapa

Date of Birth

November 5, 1924

Date of Death

September 8, 2008

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Vivian Louise DeLapa, 83, died peacefully at home on Monday, September 8, with the same ease and dignity that she had lived. Her memorial will be held at Holy Cross Catholic Church on Friday, September 19 at 10:AM, followed by an open house honoring her life at the family home 2420 Murrell Road.

Vivian was born November 5, 1924, in Livermore Falls, Maine, the daughter of Elmer and Louise Fournier. French was her home language and she attended French parochial grammar school run by the Ursuline nuns where she learned English and Latin. Her childhood was centered in the New England countryside she explored with her brother and sister, where she acquired a lifelong appreciation for nature. In her youth she was a dance instructor, a model, and worked at the Portsmouth Naval Yard and Indian Motorcycle Company.

Vivian and her husband Salvatore “Pete” DeLapa, an operatic and nightclub singer, and house-painter, left Springfield, Massachusetts with their four children: Sue, Peter, David and Paul, seeking new opportunities in Santa Barbara. Arriving in 1961, the family settled into a converted garage, transitioned to a two-bedroom duplex, and lived out the American dream purchasing in 1963 the house on the Mesa where Vivian lived the remainder of her life. Together with her husband she created a welcoming home with open doors where friends simply walked in to join in the bounty of fine Italian and French cooking.

She was an avid reader and accomplished pianist (Chopin her favorite); a classical music lover she frequented the Santa Barbara Symphony, Community Arts concerts, and SB Music club performances.

After raising her children, Vivian worked at Ott’s department store, Trenwith’s, and The Hughes store; impeccably dressed herself, she never failed to gain compliments for her refined yet understated taste in clothing (and being a wise shopper, always found deals for the finest labels). Though she didn’t drive, Vivian was very independent, used public transportation for frequent ventures downtown, and even in her last year strolled daily across the Mesa for shopping and walks to Shoreline Park. She adored the harbor area and Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean climate, and was the first to acknowledge (and appreciate) it’s stark contrast to her New England roots.

Though a member of the Holy Cross-parish on the Mesa, Vivian attended church regularly at the Santa Barbara Mission with her son Pete. She loved traveling with her daughter Sue and the Holy Cross Travel Club on its bus trips around the West. Her dream of a Hawaii vacation was achieved in her last year thanks to the generosity of her son-in-law Barney Brantingham and daughter Sue; she delighted in five sun filled days at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach with them and her son Paul.

Vivian was a confident loving mother who’s great pride and joy were her children. She is remembered by them for her unwavering support and encouragement in her oft-expressed statement, “I know you’ll do the right thing.” She was preceded in death in 1996 by her husband, a well-known golfer at the Santa Barbara Community Golf Club and former employee at UCSB, where he formed a warm friendship with then-Chancellor Vernon Cheadle and his wife, Mary. Vivian was also preceded in death by her son David in 1991.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara, whose kindness and compassion have been a tremendous support these past months. Their address: 222 East Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara CA 93101.


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