Eileen W. Sapera of Athens passed away surrounded by her family on Monday, June 22, 2020. She was preceded in death by her parents, Hylet H. and Florence Knoker Wattigny.
Born in New Orleans, LA, January 20, 1943, Eileen prided herself on being a Navy wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher. She graduated from Fortier High School in 1961 and attended Louisiana State University her freshman year joining Delta Gamma Sorority. Selected as the Dream Girl of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity for Tulane University, she married Navy Ensign Leonard Sapera on June 9, 1962.
Eileen embraced being a Navy wife moving the family 18 times in Len’s 28 years of service. Arriving in Athens in 1972, she enrolled at the University of Georgia graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1975 with B.A. Degree while Len was assigned to the Navy Supply Corps School (NSCS). Teaching elementary school children for many years in the Fairfax County Virginia School System, her dedication to teaching and learning made her a role model to every individual fortunate to know and love her. Her successes provided guidance to hundreds of students, her children and grandchildren. In 1987, she was ecstatic when Len received orders back to NSCS as the Commanding Officer. She really enjoyed her three-year tour as First Lady of the Navy School which then became a 33-year love affair with the people of the Classic City.
Very active in the community, she volunteered and held leadership roles in many organizations including the USTA League, the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, Classic City Garden Club, UGA Catholic Center Women’s Club, Delta Gamma Sorority, Athens Country Club, and Erudite Study Club. She made friends and enjoyed playing tennis competitively and for fun in the USTA League. She was particularly proud her teams won multiple regional and state championships.
Eileen is survived by her loving husband of 58 years, Len; son Lance and his wife Michelle, son Scott, and daughter Leigh Perno and her husband Joe; grandchildren Collin and Nicole Sapera, and Neelie, Jack and Trip Perno.
Eileen was a giving woman who cared deeply for her friends, but her greatest joy was her family. Together, we will celebrate her life with a funeral Mass (10:00 a.m., Monday, June 29th at the UGA Catholic Center where she served as a Eucharistic Minister) and interment immediately after at Oconee Hill Cemetery. Due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the family intends to host a celebratory reception with friends at a future date. For those unable to attend, the funeral Mass will be livestreamed. Please visit the Catholic Center’s Homepage (https://ccatuga.org/) for details.
Eileen will be forever loved and missed. The family would like to thank her doctors and care givers at Piedmont Athens Regional and St. Mary’s Hospitals and Compassionate Care Hospice for their loving care during Eileen’s illness. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Piedmont Athens Regional Foundation, 1199 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA 30606, (706) 475-7000.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home (https://www.lordandstephens.com/), 4355 Lexington Road, Athens, GA 30605 is in charge of the arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Eileen Wattigny Sapera, please visit our floral store.