Dr. Agnes Maria Apicella
- November 12, 2023
Dr. Agnes Maria Apicella
Santa Rosa, Calif.
Dr. Agnes Maria Apicella suddenly passed away Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. Agnes was born on Dec. 16, 1938, at St Ann’s hospital in New York City and lived at the Foundling orphanage until 1 year of age when she was adopted by Philip and Maria Dengler, who provided her a very loving home for her. She attended St Pascal Baylon Elementary School and went on to Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, N.Y. She attended St. John’s University in Queens and graduated in 1960 with a degree in elementary education. She ultimately obtained a master’s degree in educational anthropology from Buffalo State College in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1977. Agnes was accepted into the Ph.D. program at the State University of New York at Buffalo in Educational Anthropology and received her degree in 1981. After her degree, she taught at State University of New York at Buffalo for 12 years as an instructor in the Milliard Fillmore College. In 1993, she moved to the University of Iowa with her husband, Michael. She taught at the University as an instructor in the Department of Preventive Medicine until 1998 when she retired. During her educational career she had the unique opportunity to teach at the pre-school level (Head Start), elementary School (Valley Stream, N.Y.), The Center for Developmentally Disabled Children, (Niagara Falls, N.Y.), post high school level (Job Corps), undergraduate and graduate levels. She loved her students, and she loved teaching.
In 2000, Agnes found her birth family. This was one of the most joyful times of her life. She has two first cousins, Laura Naughton of Lancaster, Pa., and Pamela Corrigan of Atlanta, Ga.
Agnes is survived by her husband of 62 years, Michael; three sons and six grandchildren. Her grandchildren were the focus of her later life and her love for them was unbounding. Her oldest son, Michael (Julia), an engineer working with the U.S. Navy, has two sons, Michael John and Nathan Thomas, and lives in Fredericksburg, Va. Michael is a student at Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg and Nathan attends Chancellor High School in Fredericksburg. Her middle son, Christopher (Rhonda), is a systems engineer and has a daughter, Katherine Faye, who is a graduate student at UC Irvine. Her youngest son, Peter (Roberta) is the owner of a restaurant in Brockport, N.Y. Peter has one son, Xander Lee, and two daughters, Sierra Renee and Jasmine Maria. Xander has a degree in Physics from UC Santa Barbara and is a graduate student at Cal State San Lois Obispo. He is currently employed in a tech start up. Sierra is an accomplished artist and is an undergraduate in Design at Rochester Institute of Technology. Jasmine is a senior at Holly High School in Holly, N.Y. Agnes was preceded in death by her parents, Philip and Maria Dengler.
In addition to her accomplishments as an educator, Agnes was a passionate artist who worked in oils, watercolors and, in her later life, pastels. She was an active member of the Oakmont Art Society and participated in many of their shows and functions. Agnes had excellent musical talents (piano) as well and enjoyed attending the Symphony in the different cities she lived in. She was also very involved in her community as a member of the League of Women Voters and was President of the Domestic Abuse Prevention Coalition in Buffalo in 1976 – 1978. She was always an advocate for the less-fortunate and the abused.
Agnes has been an active member of the Star of the Valley Catholic Church in Oakmont, Santa Rosa, Calif. She was a member of the Women’s Circle, the Parish Council and was an Usher at the four o’clock Mass on Saturdays.
A Mass of the Resurrection will be held at Star of the Valley Catholic Church followed by interment in the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in early December.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent either to Star of the Valley Catholic Church, 545 White Oak Drive as a bequest, Santa Rosa, CA 95409; or to the New York Foundling, 590 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011.