Official Obituary of

Helen Fondulis Tamaccio

March 16, 2024

Helen Tamaccio Obituary


At the age of 100 Helen Fondulis Tamaccio peacefully passed away on March 16, 2024.

Helen was born in Wheeling, West Virginia on September 8, 1923.  Her parents had migrated to the United States from the Island of Crete.  Her father was a struggling coal miner.  Seeking a better life her family moved to New York City only to be confronted by the Great Depression.  In New York she faced hunger and stood in line begging for food as a Teenager.

In the late 1930’s, unique for a woman in her time, she received a scholarship and went to Hunter College in New York to study Art History.  Economic necessities forced her to leave college just as the Greatest War in History - World War II descended on America.  She saw her brother, cousins and so many friends leave for military service.  Then, as a young girl she went to work for the Associated Press assembling dramatic news information coming in from all parts of the world.  During this time she had a short stint as a photographer’s model. Her beauty, as seen in her photograph was astonishing.

At the beginning of World War II Helen became engaged to a young Naval officer.  He would be the Naval Officer who led the first squadron of torpedo planes against the Japanese Armada in the famous battle of Midway in 1942 when he was killed.  For his valor he was awarded the Navy Cross and war ship was named after him. The Navy invited his mother and Helen to Christian the ship.  Quite an honor for a young Greek American woman then just 20 years old.

As the war engulfed the Nation and more than 16 million Americans joined the military, Helen felt compelled to join and also serve.  She joined the Navy and was trained as Navy Nurse assigned to Navy Hospitals where she treated grievously wounded sailors, mostly amputees and burn victims.  In America’s glorious World War II history only 200,000 women served in the military and Helen was one of them and probably among the very last.

During her service at a Naval Hospital she met the love of her life, Robert Tamaccio, and they married while still in the service on July 4, 1946.

Helen and her husband, together with the other members of her generation – known in history as the Greatest Generation - went on to build post-war America, a period of monumental growth and progress.  The children of the Greatest Generation, now called the Baby Boomers, reached a high level of living made possible by the many sacrifices of their parents.

After the war Helen went to work at Presbyterian Hospital.  With her husband Bob they first lived in West Philadelphia and then moved to Upper Darby.  Helen concluded her working career as the first manager of St. George Senior Housing and then as the first manager of the U.S. Postal Worker’s Retirement Center in Philadelphia.

Helen and her husband, Bob Tamaccio, had six children, Candace, Roberta, Alice, Stephen, Frances and Catherine, children that she raised with love and care to become good and contributive citizens.  She was blessed with 15 grandchildren and they became quite a collection of very successful young people consisting of doctors, engineers, lawyers and business people.  She also has four great-grandchildren.  Helen’s children and grandchildren have achieved their successes because Helen’s destitute parents had the courage to come to this country and seek a better tomorrow and Helen and her husband continued the struggle over their many years.

Helen had an array of attributes. Besides being extremely attractive, she was especially elegant, very intelligent, an excellent conversationalist and profoundly well read. After her retirement from the workforce she probably read a book per week.  Just a few months before her death at 100 she was asking for a copy of the New York Times.

Helen was deeply concerned for the future wellbeing of her country. She was deeply imbedded in her Greek Orthodox faith. She was engrossed with her love for her large and expansive family always praying for their welfare and safety.

When the record of her long life is reviewed she will be received by her Maker with the words of the Bible “Well done thy true and faithful Servant.”

Friends and family are welcome to attend her visitation from 10am to 11am Friday, March 22, 2024, at St. Luke Greek Orthodox Church, 35 N. Malin Rd. Broomall, PA 19008. Her funeral service will take place at 11am in the church.  Her interment will follow the funeral service in Fernwood Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society of St. Luke"

35 North. Malin Road, Broomall, PA 19008

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March 22, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
St. Luke
35 N. Malin Rd.
Broomall, PA 19008

Funeral Service
March 22, 2024

11:00 AM
St. Luke
35 N. Malin Rd.
Broomall, PA 19008

Interment following funeral service
March 22, 2024

Fernwood Cemetery, Lansdowne, Pa
6501 Baltimore Avenue
Lansdowne, PA 19050


St. Luke Ladies Philoptochos Society
35 N. Malin Road, Broomall PA 19008


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