February 2, 1920 – December 31, 2016
Belva Marie DiCarolis passed away December 31, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Belva was born February 2, 1920, in Greeley, Colorado. She had three brothers and two sisters – all deceased.
It’s an understatement to say Belva saw and accomplished much in her long lifetime despite many challenges: growing up in the Depression, her mother dying in childbirth with her youngest sister, and her father becoming a miner moving from place to place and job to job to sustain the family. She was fond of saying that in her 12 years of schooling, she attended 14 different schools.
She left home at 13 to live with an immigrant Irish family. She adopted their Catholic faith and graduated from Saint Mary’s High School in Phoenix, Arizona.
World War II came along and changed everyone’s lives. She joined the Navy, became a WAVE and was first stationed in Washington, DC. At the end of the war, while stationed at Treasure Island in San Francisco, her brother Shorty introduced her to another sailor, “Tate” DiCarolis. They were married at Old Saint Mary’s Church in San Francisco in 1945. Belva and Tate settled in Mountain View and in the late 50’s moved to a new home in Santa Clara – where she lived until her death.
Belva worked as a secretary (she eschewed the term administrative assistant) at Moffett Field for NACA – the predecessor to NASA – for 7 years. She retired twice: from the State of California Department of Rehabilitation (15 years) and the Diocese of San Jose (24 years).
Belva was awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal, given for Distinguished Service to the Church to both lay people and the clergy. It is the highest medal awarded to the laity by the Pope.
She is survived by a loving family – Vincent and Marcy DiCarolis; Stephen and Dolly DiCarolis; and Douglas DiCarolis; granddaughters Cristen DiCarolis Dallas; Jeannette DiCarolis McCormick; and Brittany DiCarolis and seven great- grandchildren: Zoë, Enzo, Jacqueline, Ruby, McKenzie, Taylor and Kylie.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, at alz.org.