STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Anna Gesso inherited her house at 299 Naughton Ave. in Dongan Hills from her mother, and she made it her mission to keep the lot next door clean - a task made more difficult by teenagers who'd hang out at a nearby Dunkin' Donuts.
The 62-year-old swept the lot every day, so when she didn't come out to help with the cleanup after the storm, neighbors knew something was wrong.
Ms. Gesso, who didn't want to leave the home where she was born, died Tuesday in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
A 1968 graduate of New Dorp High School, she obtained her bachelor's degree in business administration from Hunter College, Manhattan.
Ms. Gesso had been working as a telephone collector for National Grid in Brooklyn for 21 years.
Neighbor Joe Del Villa of Prince's Bay, who owns the adjacent Boulevard Cleaners on Hylan Boulevard, said Ms. Gesso made sure the businesses along Hylan kept the nearby lot clean.
"She was a nice lady. The way I was introduced to her was, 'Please keep the lot clean, and I'll be a happy lady,'" he previously told the Advance.
Ms. Gesso fearlessly chased away teenagers up to no good, as well as would-be thieves looking to break into his delivery vans, he said.
"You were a loving, beautiful sister and you will be greatly missed by your nephew Gino and myself," said her brother, Robert.
Ms. Gesso was a parishioner of St. Ann's R.C. Church, Dongan Hills.
The funeral will be Friday from the Virginia Funeral Chapel, Dongan Hills, with a mass at 10 a.m. in St. Ann's Church. Burial will follow in Moravian Cemetery, New Dorp.