Elba Kempski, age 85, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday, 17 November 2019, after a long battle of Multiple Myeloma Cancer. Her husband, Tony, and her daughter, Debby held her hands as she succumbed to eternal rest to be with the Lord, and all her loving family were present. She touched many lives by her rosary prayers for all those she knew that were in need due to illness or injury, plus the many afghans, bedspreads, and ponchos she crocheted for family and friends.
A true Spaniard, whose heritage dates back to an old Spanish Atrisco Land Grant in New Mexico in the late 1500’s, she was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico to Prospero and Flora (Chaves) Saavedra on 5 August, 1934, where she eventually worked as a waitress at the New York Café and the NCO club on the Sandia Army Base in Albuquerque. That is where she met the love of her life, a young sailor by the name of Tony Kempski. They got married in the base chapel on September 28, 1957 and spent the next 62 years together. As a military wife, it took her to military bases in New Mexico, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. With her husband out at sea, she gave birth to their first child, Debby. During this time, she was staying with her husband’s parents in Wilmington, DE. It was here where she picked up all those great Polish recipes, in addition to bringing to the table her own Spanish cuisine. Her handmade tortillas and red and green chili entrees were always in demand from family and friends.
After her husband’s discharge from the Navy, Elba settled in his home town of Wilmington, DE where she raised two more children, Anthony and Mark. She loved to fish and crab with the family on their boat in the Chesapeake Bay. Then, the camping trips began starting at the Delaware Shore, Maine, New Mexico and California, followed by trips to San Francisco and Puerto Rico, accompanying her husband during his work assignments. An ocean cruise to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary took her to England, France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Croatia, Turkey, Italy and Greece, but the slot machines in Atlantic City and Delaware were one of her most favorite pleasures. A hot air balloon ride in Albuquerque, NM topped off her true adventurous spirit.
Elba is survived by her husband; her three children, Debby Cook (Ray), Anthony (Kathy) and Mark. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Raymond (Carla), Jessica (Alex), Ryan and Matthew; and her great-grandson, Alex. Also surviving is her sister, Rally Albano. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her sister, Celia Milligan, and her brothers, Sonny and Joe Saavedra all from California.
Friends and family are invited to visitation on Friday, 22 November 2019, from 6 to 8 PM at Mealey Funeral Home, 2509 Limestone Road, Wilmington. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, 23 November at 10 AM at St. John the Beloved Church, 907 Milltown Road, Wilmington. Burial will be private.