Anna Stears, a longtime resident of Sag Harbor and East Hampton, died at the Westhampton Care Center on Sept. 4 at the age of 86, with her family around her. She had had a series of strokes.
An only child, she was born at home on Meserole Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn on Aug. 9, 1927. Her parents, Peter Maniscalco and the former Katerina LaGrassa, moved to Long Island soon after, and she graduated from Amityville High School, where her future husband, Robert V. Stears, was a fellow student.
Mr. Stears turned 17 in April 1945, as World War II was drawing to a close, and promptly joined the Navy. He served for a year and a half. On her 19th birthday, Anna was sitting in her father’s barbershop when he walked in, back from service. They were married not long after.
“They lived for each other,” their son Robert Stears said yesterday.
After the birth of their first child, Mrs. Stears, who had attended beautician classes, became a full-time homemaker. She was a great cook, said Mr. Stears — Italian food was her specialty — and loved to entertain. “It was not unusual to get up in the morning and have two or three friends over for breakfast,” he said. Her energy was unlimited. “We don’t have any pictures of her sitting down,” said her son.
Except for brief periods in Sarasota and St. Augustine, Fla., for most of their 65 years together the Stearses lived on the South Fork. Both of them loved to fish. “They would go fishing like clockwork every Wednesday,” if the weather allowed, said Mr. Stears. On Sundays after church, the whole family went to the beach.
The elder Mr. Stears died in April 2012. His wife felt the loss deeply, said her son, but retained her inner vitality. When one of her children went to pick her up at the doctor’s office, there was never any difficulty finding her: she was the one surrounded by other elderly women, all laughing and enjoying her company.
“She was a pip,” said her daughter, Catherine Washburn.
Besides Ms. Washburn and Mr. Stears, Mrs. Stears leaves another son, Peter Stears, and a grandchild. All three of her children live in East Hampton.
The family has suggested donations in her memory for the East Hampton Ambulance Association, 1 Cedar Street, East Hampton 11937. Mrs. Stears was cremated, and her ashes will be buried next to her husband’s at Calverton National Cemetery.