Helen Marie DelVecchio Dall’Acqua

BAR HARBOR — Helen Marie DelVecchio Dall’Acqua was born Elena Cristina DelVecchio on May 23, 1917 at home on L Street Northwest in Washington, D.C., to Cristina d’Orio DelVecchio and Luigi Alfredo DelVecchio;

both parents were born in Italy. Luigi died when Helen was still in grade school; Cristina married Anthony Marinelli, widower of her sister who died in the 1918 flu epidemic. Helen would survive her sister Mary and brothers Savino, Leonardo, Luigi, and Ernesto.


Helen graduated from Central High School in 1933 and got a job right out of high school with a patent attorney in private practice. The first member of her family to complete high school, she attended 2 1/2 years of evening classes at George Washington University, studying modern European history, then decided to focus on her work. She found legal work fascinating and had an impressive career, working for the U.S. Treasury Department (where she was crowned “Miss Treasury”), the U.S. State Department and, during World War II, at the War Department serving the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

She retired when she married the love of her life, the much-decorated Capt. Mario Robert Dall’Acqua of the U.S. Air Force, on May 26, 1950. The couple lived at Helen’s family home on 16th Street N.W. while they started their family. The Captain was promoted to Major and served in the Korean War. By 1958, the couple decided to leave military life and move to New York so “Bob” could pursue a career in advertising. They moved to Syosset, Long Island, and Bob joined the prestigious firm of McCann Erickson, where he rose to vice president for television advertising. A household accident took his life on June 14, 1964.

Helen moved her daughters Nancy, Joyce and Joan back to the Washington, D.C. area. By the time Joan was in college, Helen had gone back to the legal work she enjoyed, in private practice for Stephen J. Pournaras and remained thre until she was in her 80s.

Helen was a voracious reader of biographies and novels and enjoyed politics, watching hours of C-SPAN and Sunday-morning talk shows.

Survivors include her three daughters, Nancy Dall’Acqua Crisalli of Glenn Dale, Md., Joyce Dall’Acqua Peterson of Bar Harbor, and Joan Dall’Acqua Hancock of Arlington County, Virginia; sons-in-law Anthony Crisalli, D. Michael Hancock and David Peterson; and the grandchildren who brought joy to her later years, Mario Robert Dall’Acqua Crisalli, Taylor Christina Dall’Acqua Hancock and Cameron Georgia Dall’Acqua Hancock.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Lupus Foundation of America, The Jackson Laboratory, or the American Cancer Society.

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