May 4, 2015


Saturday, Gigie, the best friend of my maternal grandmother, passed away.

When I was little, I loved visiting Gigie’s house on the Long Island Sound. Her place felt luxurious, world-traveled and so different from the homes of other older people. She had a huge smile, wore the most gorgeous outfits and had a great laugh.

We share the same birthday and she would always send me, her “birthday buddy”, a card. I’m sure I have one from this year or last saved in a notebook. Even though I hardly knew this woman, she had an affect on my young self. Her independence and love of dogs, the lore about her fashion model days, made her someone who showed me that women can be self-reliant, have their own careers and live alone (both of her husbands passed away).

She was her own version of a badass.

I hadn’t seen her in years, but the cards kept coming. She was on Facebook. She was out there still, bringing her cheer to her family. My thoughts are with them now.

I’m sad to hear of her passing. She was effervescent.

Olga “Gigie” Villaflor Intelisano, of League City, Texas, formerly of Massapequa and Islip, New York, passed away on Saturday, May 2, 2015. She died at the age of 89, at her residence surrounded by her loving family. Gigie was born on February 21, 1926, in Brooklyn, New York, to Lorenzo Villaflor and Olga Pandolfini Villaflor.

Gigie spent many years working in the millinery industry in New York City, beginning as a model and advancing from regional to national sales positions. A pioneering woman in the industry, she earned positions of significant responsibility during the 60’s and 70’s.

She was preceded in death by her first husband, John D. Elliott, and her second husband, Louis P. Intelisano, and her son, Robert M. Elliott. Gigie is survived by her son, James E. Elliott, and his wife, Barbara Emerson, of University Park, Texas, by her daughter Lisa Elliott, of League City, Texas, and by her daughter-in-law, Cindy Elliott. She is preceded in death by her brother, Larry Villaflor, and sister, Caryl Frankl. Gigie is survived by her sisters Laura Grossi, Ramona DiBenedetto, Christina Niemiec and Catherine Miner, and brother Vincent Villaflor, as well as grandchildren Lee Elliott, Allyce Elliott, Christopher Leeney, Taryn Leeney, and Catherine Leeney, as well as numerous loving nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her beloved and trusted dachshund companion, Gidget.

The family is requesting donations to be made to Triumphant Tails, Inc., in Gigie’s name, in lieu of flowers. Triumphant Tails can be contacted at P.O. Box 338, Kemah, Texas 77565.

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