Antoinette Caroline Casalnova, resident of Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania, died at home on September 20, 2023, at the age of 98 from end-stage dementia (cerebral atherosclerosis). Babe, as she was known within the family, was born on March 21, 1925, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the only child of Carolina DeRenzi (1905-1925) and Giovanni (John) Batisto Casalnuovo (1904-1977). (Her father's surname changed over time to Casalnova.) Babe is survived by a half-sister Alice (Casalnova) Del Casale of South Philadelphia; Gail Vogel, her companion of 50 years; friends and family.
Cas, as she was known by friends and associates, graduated from St. Agnes School of Nursing in South Philadelphia in 1946. She was a top-notch nurse who worked in various capacities at numerous Philadelphia hospitals for close to four decades. She retired as a medical secretary. Her nursing expertise and concern for others benefitted many over the course of her lifetime and included at least three life-saving instances outside of work.
Tiny in physical stature, Babe was blessed with extraordinary drive, zest for life and mental acuity until her mid-90s when her physical and mental health began to plummet. Prior to the decline, her passionate pursuits included co-authoring and self-publishing a genealogy-based family history book which was given to family contributors and select friends when she was 93 years old. Additional joys in her life included gardening, cooking, maintaining her home, the Philadelphia Mummers, the Philadelphia Phillies, cuisine of all types, music and movies, times at the seashore, and books on all subjects. Babe poured heart and soul into caring for a life-long parade of cherished dogs and cats, and grew to love wildlife after moving to woodsy Lafayette Hill almost 40 years ago. She never stopped loving her "little dollhouse" in the Andorra section of Philadelphia which she previously owned. Above all of her interests and contributions, Babe's faith in and love for God was always foremost.
In a lucid moment during late-stage decline, Babe said, "Think of me as I was, not as I am." It's easy on the mind and heart to remember when she was fun-loving and had a delightfully infectious laugh, was devout and always doing for others. In her time of greatest need, she was tended to as devotedly as she had cared for others. The supportive contributions of Sheila Castor, Michele and Matt Elkes, Diane (Vogel) Lawrence and Carol (Vogel) Totten will never be forgotten. Kindness in one's darkest hour is God's work. Healthcare and spiritual support provided by the University of Pennsylvania is immensely appreciated.