We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Avalon Life Celebration Center and Cremation Services
Elaine L. Greco, 87, of Springfield St., Feeding Hills, MA left this Earth on July 23, 2021, filled with love and her family by her side. Elaine started her unique journey on February 5, 1934, born to Santo and Beatrice (Marchetti) DeSpirt in West Springfield, MA. She spent much of her childhood with her siblings, Delores, Anita, Santo “Junior” and Beatrice.
In her early adult years, she met the love of her life, Richard “Dicky” Greco. She couldn’t help but to share that he was an Agawam football star, a veteran, and “so handsome.” It began a love affair that led to marriage in 1952 and the birth of their one and only son Richard Greco in 1957. Elaine was eternally proud of her “miracle” son. This loving little family built a home on Highland St. in Feeding Hills close to a number of relatives. As Elaine began to settle into her role as mother and housewife, tragedy would strike and Dicky would pass away from a massive heart attack in October of 1963. This moment would define who she would be for the rest of her life.
Elaine knew she would need to do whatever it took to raise her son. She began working in a number of businesses including waitressing, doing retail work, and working at a local fence company. Not a common place for women at the time, Elaine developed a bigger personality that her 5’0” frame could hold. If the boys played cards, she played cards better. If the boys hit a baseball, so would she.
In 1973, she would test her hand as an entrepreneur and opened “Elaine’s Pet Salon.” Along the way, she would employ many. From first jobs to final jobs, Elaine took pride in employing many men and women and giving them an opportunity to support their families. However, there was nothing that she loved more than taking care of her customers. Her customers also loved her; come the holidays, the gifts from customers would fill her counters. Toying with the idea of retirement, Elaine sold “Elaine’s Pet Salon.” Having missed her customers, she opened “Paradise Grooming” just a few years later, and she would continue grooming well past her 80th birthday.
Elaine loved her family. Her son Richard Greco of Southwick would marry Karen (Clark) Greco, her grandchildren, Richard Greco Jr. of Manchester, CT, his partner, Michael Mayo, and Christine Greco of Southwick, MA and her partner, Peter Ampelakis, along with her great-grandsons Antonio and Charlie Ampelakis were the lights in her life. She lived with her sister Beatrice for many years. In addition to her family, she deeply loved her many friends.
To many, Elaine was a cartoon character or a caricature; she was larger than life. Affectionately referred to as “Grandma Lush” for her love for Chardonnay (Kendall Jackson or St Francis), Elaine burned like a fire in her later years. As she aged, she reinvented herself as an urban legend playing cards and sipping from a special wine glass at Louie B’s, Tie Breakers, or the Brass Rail just to name a few. People that were generations removed would be excited to take a photo with Grandma Lush and post it on social media. She would not be afraid to tell you during a Grandma Lush sighting, “I do what I want.” And she did. She played by her rules.
She would have a similar effect on her final journey. A life-long asthmatic, Elaine developed end-stage COPD and was hospitalized on February 3, 2021. She fought a hard fight to come off of a ventilator and during this process, she had been moved around quite frequently. Even during this exhausting time for her, she managed to have an effect on those around her that is rarely seen. Nurses, respiratory therapists, and medical students alike formed strong connections to her; her journey also became their journey. Upon hearing about her love for the card game Pitch, one care provider went home and learned the rules of the game that night. Her fire made her someone that you could not ignore.
As Elaine wants her friends to remember her in life, there will be no services for her. In her own words, “I love you with all of my heart.” Her family plans to hold a memorial event to raise funds for a scholarship to be awarded to health care students in the near future.
Avalon Funeral & Cremation Services, 691 College Hwy, Southwick, MA 01077 is assisting the family with arrangements. To express condolences to the family or to share photos or memories, please visit Elaine’s memorial page at www.avaloncelebrations.com