By Francesca Norsen Tate
Anita Nieto Yglesias, long active in Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights, died unexpectedly on December 22. She was 86 and had lived in Brooklyn, raising her family, for all of her life.
Born in Cobble Hill on March 5, 1925, Anita met her husband, James Yglesias, 70 years ago, before he went off to World War II. They were married 65 years ago at St. Charles Borromeo Church.
They later joined Grace Church, where they were active and beloved members for 60 years. Anita had several leadership roles and was president of the parish chapter of Episcopal Church Women. During his 26-year tenure as rector of the church, the Rev. Goldthwaite Sherrill appointed Anita to committees within the Diocese of Long Island.
Anita organized and chaired the White Elephants table at the Grace Church Fair, the parish’s annual “all-hands-on” event. Her longtime friend, Lois Osborne, recalled, “First of all, Anita was such a lovely lady. We worked so well together. She was always willing to do things, and she volunteered so quickly.”
Brother David Bryan Hoopes, OHC, a Benedictine monk and associate rector at Grace Church (1987-93), said, “She lived her Christian faith in the way she treated people. Anita brought joy where she went.”
Anita was also active in the Spanish community and was president of the school, Joventudes Escolares, on Atlantic Avenue. Her day job was as an import-export administrator for Union Carbide.
Her daughter, Denise Varela, noted that her mother “walked across the Brooklyn Bridge every day — rain or shine — for 25 years.”
Anita Yglesias is survived by her husband, James Yglesias, Sr.; her daughter, Denise Varela; son, James Yglesias, Jr.; five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Grace Church Restoration Fund.
A memorial service will be held at Grace Church, 254 Hicks St., on Saturday, January 14 at 1 p.m.
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