Mary Dolores Sejda-Aversa, 88, of Philadelphia, died peacefully at The Simpson House on June 11, 2020 after a long battle with Waldenstrom's Disease.Dolores was born on Holy Saturday, March 26, 1932 in Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. Her parents were Dr. Martin Benjamin and Mary (Esposito) Sejda, both of Philadelphia. She grew up on Providence Avenue in Chester, Pennsylvania where she lived a very storied life. She attended both St. Helwig's and St. Robert's Schools in Chester and she was a graduate of Notre Dame High School in 1949, and ChestnutHill College in 1953 where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature. She went on to become a newsroom reporter for The Chester Times.Dolores, her parents, Dr. Martin and Mary Sejda and her brother, Martin Sejda were passengers aboard the ill-fated ltalian cruise liner, the Andrea Doria, when it collided with The Stockholm off of the coast of Nantucket on July 25, 1956. Fortunately, Dolores and her family survived the harrowing ordeal.Dolores pursued her love for opera, by becoming an opera singer, first with The Suburban Opera Company in Chester, and then with The Grand Opera Company of Philadelphia. Some of the operas in which she sung were ll Trovotore (Lenora), La Traviata (Violetta), La Boheme (Mimi) and Madame Butterfly (Kate Pinkerton).Dolores married Dr. Zefferino Aversa, Jr. on May 3, 1958 at St. Robert's Church (now St. Katherine Drexel) in Chester. The couple went on to have three children, Dolores Elizabeth, Jeffrey Martin, and Linda Maria, and settled in Philadelphia.Dolores retired from singing in operas and went on to manage opera singers well into the mid 1970's. Her clients performed with Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo, Jose Ferrer and Victor Borga, to name a few. They performed at opera houses up and down the East Coast, including the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.Dolores eventually retired from opera altogether choosing to focus on her children, and their education. She was the PTO President of St. Patrick's School at 20th & Locust for several years, where she spearheaded many fundraising efforts. She was a member of the Education Planning Committee for The Academy of the Assumption, "Ravenhill", when her daughters were students there.Dolores launched many businesses including publicist, event planner, wedding planner, art importer, and English Teacher. She taught English for The Franklin School of Science and Arts for two years before purchasing her own business school in Northeast Philadelphia, The Martin School of Business. After 25 years she sold the school in order to care for her husband who succumbed to Lewes Bodies Disease in 2005.Dolores was a true patriot who loved her country. Like many of her generation she was inspired by President John F. Kennedy to get involved in civic duty. She was an active member in the elections in Philadelphia, serving the 8th Ward, 13th Division as Poll Watcher, and Judge of Elections for many years.Dolores was also an avid Philadelphia Flyers fan, and was a season's ticket holder for 25 years. She was so proud of 'her boys' when they won The Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975.Despite Dolores's many accomplishments throughout her life, her legacy will be teaching her children and grandchildren the importance of faith, family, love of country and maintaining a sense of humor.Dolores was a member of the Opera Circle of Philadelphia, The Academy of Vocal Arts, The Philadelphia Art Museum, The Philadelphia Drama Guild, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Secretary of the Republican Executive Committee. Member 8th Ward Republican Committee, Member of Lower Bucks CountyChamber of Commerce, Member of American Society of Travel Agent (PAC Chairman since 1997, School Division, National Educators Committee, Secretary, Delaware Chapter, Education Chairman), Historical Society, Pennsylvania, World Affairs Council Philadelphia, Philadelphia History Society, Pennsylvania School Counselors Association, American Business Law Association, Pennsylvania BusinessEducation Association, National Business Education Association, Andrea Doria Survivor Association, Chestnut Hill College Alumnae Association (Secretary, Class '53), Philadelphia Orchestra, America-ltaly Society, Metropolitan Opera Guild, Stone Harbor Golf Club, Who's Who in American Women, Who's Who in American Educators.Dolores is preceded in death by her sister, Loretta, her brothers, Martin B., Robert, and Martin R., and her parents, Dr. Martin B. and Mary (Esposito) Sejda, and her husband, Dr. Zefferino Aversa, Jr.Dolores is survived by her children and their spouses, Dolores Aversa-Gounley (Nicholas), Dr. Jeffrey Aversa (Eileen), and Linda Aversa-Caldwell (Donald) and her loving grandchildren Vasiliy Gounley and Tatiana Gounley.Services: A private family Service will be held for Dolores, with a public Celebration of Life planned for a later date. ln lieu of flowers please make a donation in Dolores's name to your favorite charity. Special thanks to the staff of The Simpson House. Life Celebration services provided by John F. Givnish of Academy Rd. To share your fondest memories of Dolores, please visit www.lifecelebration.com
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