GV Lions to honor Bersano sisters at 91st anniversary celebration

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Eleanor and Elaine Bersano will received the 2015 Gardena Valley Lions Community Recognition honors during a banquet Jan. 22 at Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance. A 6 p.m. social hour will be followed by a 7 p.m. dinner. For additional information about the award dinner, contact Frank Onderka at frankgvlion@aol.com.

 

BERSANO SISTER

(biographies submitted by Eleanor Bersano)

Eleanor and Elaine Bersano will received the 2015 Gardena Valley Lions Community Recognition honors during a banquet Jan. 22 at Alpine Village, 833 W. Torrance Blvd., Torrance. A 6 p.m. social hour will be followed by a 7 p.m. dinner. For additional information about the award dinner, contact Frank Onderka at frankgvlion@aol.com.

 

BERSANO SISTER

(biographies submitted by Eleanor Bersano)

The Bersano sisters hail from the East coast. They were born in Brooklyn, New York. A young Eleanor and Elaine traveled with their family to California. Their blue Ford ventured West on Route 66, over mountains and through great deserts. Passing through a little town called Las Vegas, right to the Santa Monica Pier. The Bersano family decided to settle in Los Angeles.

Eleanor attended St. Michael’s High School; Elaine attended George Washington High School. Their parents, Rose and Julius Bersano, believed that “education was the key” and that “community service is the goal.” They attended and graduated from Cal State L.A. University. Eleanor obtained a BA in English and an MA in Languages Arts.  Elaine received a BA in Environmental Science and she minored in Art.

Entering the world of Academia: if we combine the years, it would be more than 60 years that they have been proud educators. They taught in both high schools and elementary schools during their careers. Eleanor found a home at St. Anthony of Padua Elementary School in Gardena and taught there for more than 30 years.

Elaine taught at Mary Star of the Sea High School in San Pedro where she became head of two departments and Coordinator of the Annual Awards’ Banquet. She also taught at Maria Regina Elementary School in Gardena and later joined Eleanor, working at St. Anthony of Padua Elementary School.

Eleanor and Elaine are also active in their St. Anthony of Padua Parish, serving as Eucharistic Ministers. Both Eleanor and Elaine were on the Executive Board of the St. Anthony’s Strawberry Park Day’s Fiesta for years, really enjoying co-chairing its Silent Auctions. Eleanor was honored by the Gardena VFW Auxiliary and the Lomita VFW for her academic work, also winning a National essay contest on Christopher Columbus, just to note a few awards.

While at USF, they earned their MA Degrees in Private School Educational Leadership. It is their belief that joining civic-minded groups, clubs and organizations is a way to become involved in both Church and Community. While members of the Gardena Italian Catholic Federation, Elaine served as Vice President, and Eleanor served as Secretary and Trustee. They both co-chaired the ICF Silent Auctions and Scholarship program. They were members for over 32 years. One of their most memorable moments was when Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Medina presented the ICF with a Certificate of Recognition for its “44 years of service to parish and community,” in 2013, at an Annual Fundraising Dinner-Dance.

While still teaching, Elaine and Eleanor proudly joined the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Gardena Lodge 1919, the Friendly Lodge. The Young Ladies Institute (YLI), Pomona Branch 143, is another club of which they have been members for almost 40 years. YLI is closely-associated with St. Vincent de Paul and other worthy charities.

Eleanor said to Elaine, “The Golden Age of retirement has come; we should sit back in a rocking chair and relax…No! I do not think so. Let us keep active and get involved in the community, help others and serve… that’s the way to go!”

Eleanor is an avid reader and photojournalist and now has time to pursue her love of writing, music-appreciation and dance. Elaine is into the art world and the making of culinary delights. She enjoys writing poetry, gardening and sports. What is the first thing newly-retired seniors can do? Of course, join the St. Anthony’s Senior Club.

Eleanor has served as Secretary and President and Elaine has inspired as Chaplain. Members’ ages range from 53 to 101. The only requirement is “a happy heart.”

They then joined the Gardena Valley Friends of the Library (FOL), based at the Mayme Dear Memorial Library.  President Eleanor said, “I am very excited that the FOL will be celebrating its 50th year of service.” Elaine is also on the executive board as Corresponding Secretary since “communicating with others is her cup of tea.” On to a new adventure… recently they were invited to join the OSIA, Lodge 1991, the fraternal Order of the Sons of Italy in America.

Elaine said, “We love Gardena. It is our West-coast Brooklyn… And knowledge is power when you use it to perform good works and deeds. One never stops learning ‘in life and about life.’ 

“We thank the Gardena Valley Lions Club for this wonderful and humbling Community Recognition Award: Lions Citizen of the Year 2015.”

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