When Alvera D. Elefante moved to Brentwood in her mid-30s, it marked a return to the carefree summer days of her childhood.
Born and raised in Queens, Elefante would spend July and August with her large extended family, all of whom lived within a one-mile radius in Brentwood. Together with her 14 cousins, Elefante would swim her days away at Islip Beach, biking six miles to get there. Once nightfall hit, it was off to dance in Lake Ronkonkoma.
"She said it was a wonderful childhood,” said daughter Diane Elefante-Milliard, 69, of Port Jefferson. "They bought property so they could be close to one another and build houses together."
Elefante, who lived in Brentwood for 37 years before moving to Smithtown in 1996, worked for 20 years as a stenographer at Pilgrim State Hospital in Brentwood. She died April 26 from complications of COVID-19 at the Maria Regina Residence in Brentwood, her family said. She was 94.
Known to many as "Lily," Elefante was born on Nov. 19, 1925. She graduated at 16 from William Cullen Bryant High School in Astoria, where she studied secretarial science. After graduation, she began working as a stenographer at the War Department, which later became the Defense Department, on Governors Island during World War II before moving on to Pilgrim State Hospital.
“She was very bright and had no difficulty finding employment immediately,” said daughter Donna Scarallo, 65, of Hauppauge.
Elefante, a mother of four, married her husband, Dominic, on Sept. 1, 1946, in Brooklyn. The two were married for 32 years until Dominic’s death in 1979. They lived in Brooklyn and Flushing before moving to Bay Shore in 1954 and Brentwood in 1959, about five miles away from where she spent her childhood summers.
Elefante was active in the St. Ann's Widow and Widowers Club and the Brentwood Senior Citizens #1 Club, where she got to indulge her love of travel. A doting grandmother, Elefante also loved swimming, dancing and playing tennis.
In addition to Elefante-Milliard and Scarallo, Elefante is survived by son Victor of Center Moriches, daughter Rose Elefante-Link of Smithtown, 12 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. The family held a small service on April 28 at the Branch Funeral Home in Smithtown and plan to hold a celebration of life at a later date. She was buried at Calverton National Cemetery.