Rafela Nancy (Sparace) Stewart 1927 - 2021

Rafela Nancy Stewart, 94, passed away into the Lord’s loving arms on December 20, 2021, surrounded by her family at the time of her passing.

Rafela, who was also known as Rachel, Rafael, or Mimi to her grandchildren, was born February 6, 1927, in Rome, a small town in upstate New York, to Caroline Alfi and Vito Sparace. She was the eighth of nine siblings in an Italian family of two boys and seven girls.

Rafela married Frederick Joseph Stewart, her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, on April 4, 1946. They were married for 73 years.

Rafela worked in a bakery, as a waitress, and for the School for the Deaf in Rome, New York, before moving to Riverside, California, with her husband and daughters, Donna and Rebecca. She worked at Rohr Aircraft in Riverside for 28 years until she retired. While working for Rohr, she was awarded Employee of the Year in 1988 by the management of Rohr Industries for her professional attitude, ethics, ability to motivate, proficiency, originality, adaptability and organizational skills. Rohr also presented her with a perfect attendance award for having perfect attendance for 20 years, and a service commendation for 28 years of loyal and dedicated service to Rohr Industries when she retired.

In 2016, Rafela and her husband Fred moved from Riverside to McMinnville, Oregon, to be closer to their daughter, Donna, and her family. Even at nearly 95 years old, she still had a spark that would brighten any get-together.

Everyone around her also knew Rachel for her strong faith, love for her family, amazing cooking, kindness and generosity, and she loved the casino and playing Blackjack. She was deeply loved by everyone who knew her, especially family.

Rafela is survived by her daughters, Donna Root of McMinnville, and Rebecca Leroy (George) of Riverside, California; seven grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Rafela was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Frederick; her son-in-law, David; parents, Caroline and Vito; her siblings, Rose Marcello, Louis Schiro, Carmella DeSimone, Salvatore (Sam Sparace), Caroline Franco, Isabelle Viti, Michaelina Kranbul and Vito Sparace; her infant son at birth, Anthony; and an infant great-granddaughter, Kayla.

Funeral services for Rafela will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, January 4, 2022, at St. James Catholic Church in McMinnville. A viewing will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, January 3, at the Chapel of Macy & Son. After the interment at St. James Cemetery, a reception will follow at Jack and Jenny’s home in McMinnville.

To leave condolences, visit www.macyandson.com


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