Winter 2018–2019

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Distinguished Resident Elvira Pagura

Elvira Pagura

Westbrook Senior Living

Streamwood, Illinois

Ninety-four year old, Elvira Pagura, spent 86 years of her life as a seamstress. Sewing is a basis for many fond memories — socializing with her clients while working on their most precious garments such as wedding and prom dresses. The craft allowed her to supplement her family income while doing what she loved.

Elvira was born in Rivignano, a commune in the Province of Udine, Italy. Her father, Giovanni, a farmer and butcher, supported a household of eight who lived in a small rented room. While Giovanni worked long hours, Elvira’s mother, Albina, would maintain the household.

After World War II, the government accepted Giovanni and Albina’s pleas to be a part of Benito Mussolini’s colonization of the North African coast, even after the deadline had passed. When Elvira was 16 years old, Giovanni and Albina moved her and her five siblings to Africa. On their five-day voyage, Elvira met Alessandro, also 16, and his family.

Life in Africa proved to be more difficult than the divided Italy they left. Family values and faith kept them strong. Alessandro and Elvira fell in love, married at age 18, and lived with Alessandro’s family. The couple had three children while living in Africa before escaping the political uprising by moving to the U.S.

A constant in her life, wherever Elvira lived, she continued to sew for anyone in need of her services.