Fernanda da Costa passed from this world peacefully on September 19, 2021, less than two months’ shy
of her 90th birthday. Maria Fernanda Casanova was born in Sao Faustino, Bouliqueime in Algarve,
Portugal on November 15, 1931, to remarkable parents, Antonio and Maria das Dores. She had a very
happy childhood with her younger sister, Lucilia, whom she adored, in a beautiful home on a hill built by
her father in this quaint, southern Portuguese village, nestled in the quiet countryside and resplendent
with lemon trees, orange trees and flowers. A well provided rainwater for drinking and washing, and her
resourceful and entrepreneurial father was the first for miles for years to install a generator for
electricity, so theirs was the first home to be lit up at night. This is very appropriate, because Fernanda
was known to light up a room when she walked in, like her mother, who was equally unforgettable.
At 19, Fernanda married her neighbor, the dapper Bernardino da Costa, who brought her to America
one year later. She welcomed everything about her adopted land, learning English and working part-
time when she wasn’t busy raising her son, Dennis, who was born in 1959. She later welcomed a
daughter-in-law, Lili, three grandchildren, Kristen, Anthony and Gianni—whom she adored and cared for
tirelessly and with love—and two great-grandchildren, Everett and Arthur (Archie).
Family and friends surrounded her throughout her long life, and she was a great hostess and cook,
preparing delicious meals in Yonkers for family and friends—first in a small apartment on New Main
Street, then in her home in Dunwoodie, where she lived across from St. Ann’s Church. This was
convenient, because she was a devoted Catholic.
Fernanda is survived by her son, Dennis, daughter-in-law, Liliana, grandchildren Kristen Fleming and
husband Greg, Anthony and Gianni, and great grandchildren Everett and Archie. She loved to say, “Que
não mata, engorda!” Translated, “What doesn’t kill you, fattens you!” It underscores her steadfast
desire to live life to the fullest. She did, and so should you.
Family and friends are invited to Pleasant Manor Funeral Home, Inc. 575 Columbus Avenue Thornwood, New York 10594 on Thursday, September 23, 2021 from 8:30 - 10:00 AM for visitation. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Fernanda at Holy Innocent's Church in Pleasantville on Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 10:30 AM. Entombment with her beloved husband Bernardino who predeceased her in 2014 will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.
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