Legal Secretary Extraordinaire Leaves Generous Legacy

Evelyn A. Sanguinetti (1905 – 2009)

In August 2009, Evelyn A. Sanguinetti of Stockton, California, died at 104 years of age, after spending 79 years of her life working as a legal secretary with an encyclopedic knowledge of probate matters. Always generous with her knowledge, she was even more generous with her estate, leaving $250,000 to St. Mary’s Interfaith Community Services dining room, and more than $150,000 each to 15 other charities.

The Stockton Record reports that while Sanguinetti left no heirs, she was well-loved by her colleagues at the same firm, now Mazzera, Snyder & DeMartini, where she worked her entire career, starting in 1923. A co-worker since 1973 said Sanguinetti was the go-to resource in probate matters – even for attorneys who didn’t work there:

 “You could go to her for anything, because she’d been there such a long time,” said Julie Devincenzi, a legal secretary at the firm since 1973. “I do remember attorneys would call sometimes and ask for her. She did probate work and different attorneys would call and ask, ‘How do you do certain procedures?’ or ‘Which papers do you need to file?’ It was pretty interesting, attorneys calling her.”

Sometimes I think I date myself when I admit I can remember a time when there was no Internet. But Sanguinetti, born in 1905, remembered a time when there were no electric lights:

“She remembered how when they switched to electric lights in her house, a guy in a cart would come by and buy everybody’s hurricane lamps, a junk collector,” Devincenzi said. “He’d go house to house with a horse and wagon and buy that stuff. Talking to her was like talking to a living legend.”

Although she never drove a car or went to college, Sanguinetti managed her finances extremely well, leaving a sizable estate that will allow numerous charities to continue the good work in her community for years to come, including the San Joaquin AIDS Foundation and the Community Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. St. Mary’s Interfaith Community Services dining room served 391,091 meals in 2010, is open seven days a week, and serves the homeless and working poor.

Source:  Stockton Record

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