Decatur House resident Terry Coronella was born in Belgium in 1925. An only child, Terry was only 11 when she lost her mother. She quickly learned to shop, cook, clean and fend for herself and her father.
As a teen Terry witnessed the devastation created by the Nazi occupation of Belgium. Stealing potatoes from the back of Nazi trucks and waiting hours in long bread lines taught her what it meant to go hungry. She recalls that once she and her father were eating oatmeal when a bomb detonated nearby, causing bits of the ceiling to land in their bowls. Undaunted, they scooped out the bits and went on to eat their meager meal.
But Terry also knew how to have fun. Despite a Nazi prohibition against dancing, she and fellow teens would post lookouts at secret dances held in basements, where they would dance the night, and their war-borne troubles away.
Terry met her future husband Mike, a GI stationed in Belgium. He proposed to her by mail and using an English to French dictionary, Terry accepted. They were married in Boston in 1947. She went on to learn to speak English, become a US citizen, raise two children, and work at the post office. Her husband Mike, who was the love of her life, passed away in 1993.
Terry’s adventurous spirit was reawakened when she joined ElderHostel for an Alaskan tour. Her most recent adventure was taking a biplane tour of the Cape with her great grandson for his 16th birthday two years ago.
Terry moved to Decatur House earlier this year. She is often seen walking the House and grounds and participating in activities and outings. We are happy to have Terry here with us at Decatur House.
Thanks you to Terry’s daughter JoAnn Phillips for contributing to this story.