Constance Dena (Taormina) Contos
01/19/1933 – 10/10/2018
85 years 264 days
It is with great sadness we announce the passing of our mother, Constance Contos. She passed unexpectedly in her sleep.
She was born in Sacramento, CA to Elizabeth Pearl Douglas and John Contos. Her father was murdered when she was 3 years old. It was hard for a widow with two children in 1936, so Connie, her mother, and her older brother Nicholas Zahara moved to Rapid City, South Dakota. They lived with her grandparents Ivy and John Douglas until 1941 when her grandfather passed away. The family was forced to move back to California to live with her Aunt Fay Kenyon on her chicken ranch in Cupertino. Not long after moving Nicholas enlisted in the Navy.
Connie and Nick had a close relationship and when he left for the Navy she missed him a great deal. During one of his visits home he taught his little sister self-defense as he was a black belt in Karate. She was very proud of her brother. As a communications officer, Nick was captured during the war and held in a Japanese concentration camp where he was tortured regularly. When he returned home he was never the same and committed suicide in 1957.
In 1949, when Connie was 16 her mother met and married Ulysses Davis a Native American and WWII veteran. At that time the family moved to Arcata, CA. Uly was a caring step-father to her. She spent a lot of time with him on the Hoopa Indian Reservation where he was born. Uly taught her many Native American customs, among them how to hunt and fish on the reservation. He was also an accomplished boxer and taught her how to box.
At 17 Connie chose to quit high school and pursue employment so she could be independent. She went to work for Hewlett Packard as an electronic assembler. She had a natural gift in the field and thrived on learning many valuable on the job skills. She climbed to a supervisor status at the company. Later in life she went on to work for several companies in the area: Ampex, Amdahl, Diasonics, Spectra Physics, and Watkins Johnson.
In 1957 she met the love of her life, Thomas S. Taormina, Sr. at his family’s business, The Manhattan Club in Los Gatos, CA. They married on July 18, 1957 and were together for 16 years. During this time she took a break from working in the electronic field to help Tom in the bar and raise two children, Tena Taormina and Thomas S. Taormina, Jr. At this time the bar had been renamed The Park Lounge (now known as Carry Nations). She remained friends with Tom after they separated until his passing in October 1997.
Connie retired in 1994 and enjoyed traveling with her family on Mediterranean Cruises, visiting New York City, several trips to Las Vegas, and best of all she was able to visit Athens, Greece, the birthplace of her father. She enjoyed gourmet cooking, reading romance novels, and writing stories. Her true passion however, was her art. She was very good and produced many beautiful works over the years.
Connie was preceded in death by Elizabeth Pearl Davis, John Contos, Ulysses Davis, Nicholas Zahara, Fay Kenyon and Thomas S. Taormina, Sr., Josephine Crivello (sister-in-law), Francis Taormina (brother-in-law) and her beloved kitty Petie.
She is survived by Tena Taormina (Steve), Thomas S. Taormina, Jr. (Gena), sisters-in-law Roseann Llewellyn and Maryann Taormina, granddaughters Adena Baron (Matt), Melissa Griffin (James) and Great-granddaughter Shaylynn Anderson along with many nieces and nephews. Close friends Adam Weiskal and Karen Tate, and lastly her beloved Norwegian Forest Cat, Nicky (named after her late brother)
There will be a Celebration of Life service at Darling & Fisher Campbell Memorial Chapel, 231 E. Campbell Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008, 11am on October 25, 2018. There will be a reception following the service at Capers Restaurant in Campbell, 1710 W Campbell Ave, Campbell, CA 95008