Thursday, January 9, 2014

Remembering Aurania

Forty-nine years ago today, a 25 year old woman died in a single car accident caused by icy roads in Billerica, Massachusetts, less than a mile from her home. She was my father's baby sister and my Aunt Aurania. I ran across her obituary this week, and did some unsuccessful hunting on the internet for records. I don't have enough information to identify her widowed husband, Frederick Patterson; with whom the family lost touch. There were no children. All of Aurania's immediate family have since passed on - her parents, Thomas and Irene, brother John (my father), and sister Katherin. They each suffered through her untimely accidental death that day decades ago. She shouldn't be forgotten.

"Baby" and her father
Aurania was the youngest of my grandparents children (by 9 years), and retained their nickname of  "Baby" into adulthood. When Dad enlisted for World War II, Aurania would have been (I think) just 3 years old.

Chicago of 1939 was Aurania's birthplace, but her parents relocated to Manchester, NH in the early 40's, and that's where she was raised. Aurania graduated from Notre Dame College in Manchester in 1961. In their alumni newsletter, they remembered her as "a smiling, cheerful person, whose philosophy of life was to try to bring happiness to others". A classmate's comments in the 1961 yearbook were, "She is an excellent, serious conscientious student, but her bell-like laughter proclaims her delightful
Aurania Haropulos in 1959
sense of humor. Endowed with wisdom beyond her years, still she has the gaity of youth and is popular among her contemporaries. We are proud to call her friend, and we know that whatever her creative dreams, she has the capacity to attain them."

I was only 9 when Aurania died. I'm left with emotional snapshots of a beautiful, kind young woman, a whiff of perfume, a charming laugh, and a wide smile. Thank God I at least have that much.

1 comment:

  1. Laurel, in case you were unaware, the church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) operates a website where I can find most people. Search for yourself, you will be shocked at all the information that is listed. I looked for your Aunt Aurania Haropulos and Aurania Patterson with the associated details but nothing was returned which was relevant. I then simply searched for anyone with a last name of Haropulos and only ONE search result was returned. The census takers or data entry clerks get names incorrect many times. Also, when in doubt, they will just use a first initial. I think the best approach would be to search for Frederick Patterson (I don't know where he was from NH or MA) - then go to property records searches to pinpoint an address. I was able to find a childhood friend of my mother through the records there by using her father's name and tracking the census, then finding the name of her husband, then looking through court records (marriages, traffic tickets, criminal activity) - they are searchable too if you have a county to search). Here is the URL link for the LDS site and 2nd is the URL for a search for Frederick Patterson: