In her ninth decade, Adelaida Pulido realized a goal so many of us take for granted: She became a U.S. citizen.
"She learned and learned," said her daughter Gladys Incantalupo of Mount Sinai. "It was not easy with all the questions."
Pulido died Christmas morning of pneumonia at Good Shepherd Hospice in Port Jefferson. She was 99.
Born June 10, 1910, in Fusagasugá, Colombia, Pulido immigrated to Long Island in 1974, following two daughters who came to attend college. She soon became a virtual full-time baby-sitter for her four American grandchildren, shuttling between Long Island and New Hampshire, where her daughter Amparo Ludwig then lived. "She never allowed us to hire a baby-sitter," Incantalupo said. "I hired a baby-sitter once, and I didn't hear the end of it for three months."
Born into a prominent Colombian family that included two former presidents, Pulido had been a prolific seamstress, making first Communion dresses and wedding veils for friends and family. She also taught religion classes in her local parish.
"If my mother had been born now, she would have been a fashion designer," Incantalupo said. "Art was her life. But it was the times when the mother would stay home."
A Long Islander for the last 35 years of her life, Pulido loved living in Sound Beach, Rocky Point and Port Jefferson. She treasured the region's natural beauty, her daughter said.
"She used to say that people spend thousands of dollars to spend summers in the Hamptons and we had it every day," Incantalupo said.
Besides Incantalupo and Ludwig, of Monroe, Conn., Pulido is survived by her daughter Clara Daza of Colombia, eight grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
A visitation is scheduled for Monday at the O.B. Davis Funeral Home in Port Jefferson from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass is to be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Louis de Montfort Roman Catholic Church in Sound Beach, with a burial to follow at Washington Memorial Park in Mount Sinai.
Pulido's family asks that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to Good Shepherd Hospice in Port Jefferson.