In Memory of





Obituary for Gelsemina "Jessie" Penland (Coscia)

Gelsemina “Jessie” Penland, age 95, a Derby resident for most of her life, peacefully entered into rest on Tuesday December 5, 2023, at Yale New Haven Hospital. She was the beloved wife of the late Frank Penland. She was born in Shelton on February 29, 1928, the daughter of the late Rafael “Ralph” and Concetta “Carrie” (Martino) Coscia.

Jessie spent many years doing a variety of things but may be best known as a caregiver before her retirement. She was a practicing catholic and a member of St. Jude’s Church and served as vice president of the Ladies Guild back in the late 1970’s. She was a wonderful homemaker who had a passion for doing many things including ceramics which she learned from a very dear friend and neighbor who passed away many years ago. More recently she really enjoyed gardening and some landscaping, and cooking and baking. She enjoyed decorating for the holidays. She had a passion for neatness and especially loved looking outside through her crystal-clear windows. Jessie was always ready to help anyone in need and often donated time and money to various favorite charities as well. As she grew older, she took solace in spending time with the girls (her sisters) playing an occasional game of bingo and serving and sharing lunch. She enjoyed chatting with and visits from some of her very dear neighbors and visits by her grandchildren, family and friends and would gladly serve them anything she may have to offer them from her refrigerator. She would plan and invite them back for the next visit before they had even left. She had a great deal of wit and her memories were intact; and she was able to converse from English to Italian and back even at the late stages of her life.

It should also be noted that she also worked at Sikorsky Aircraft on the manufacturing floor where she was very proud of the work she performed on both the military and commercial helicopter tail rotor blades involving a laminating process for roughly twenty years. She really enjoyed working in both the Bridgeport and Stratford facilities and was very hesitant to retire and relax.

She is survived by her children Frank Penland and Patricia Altieri (and her husband Al), her grandchildren Carrie Penland and Ralph Penland, her sisters Barbara Sutton, Rose Stachelczyk, and Concetta “Connie” Rykowski, as well as a very special God-daughter, Mary Ortisi, several wonderful nieces and nephews and their families. Andrea “Ranci” Van Czak (Nick) and their children Nathan and Lily and James “Jimmy” Giantis were also very special to her in the years while she was around them as they were growing up. Mrs. Penland was predeceased by her first-born son, Ralph Penland, and her eldest sister Filomena “Faye” Vagnini.

Her family would also like to pass on a special thanks to the most wonderful and compassionate staff who took such good care of Jessie while she was there - at Yale New Haven Hospital South Floor Critical Care Unit especially Danielle, Julia, Heather, Stephanie, Chloe, Latonya, Anjali, Fuwad, Kaitlyn, Mike, Sergio, Rashid, Bivy, Paola, Aaron, Celeste, Ollia, Attila, Gheneraro, Melinda, Jennifer, Bryan, Barbara, Andrew and the spiritual staff – both clergy and pastoral.

She will be deeply missed by her daughter and son who will be left missing each and every little
piece of her for the remainder of their lives but are so thankful to have been blessed to have her
as their mother.

Family and friends are invited to attend her Mass of Christian Burial on Friday December 8 at 11:00 AM in St. Mary Church, 212 Elizabeth St. Derby. Burial will follow at Mt. St. Peter Cemetery, Derby. The Edward F. Adzima Funeral Home, 253 Elizabeth St. Derby, has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences can be left for the family at Donations can be made to the United States Veterans in honor and in memory of her late husband and son who proudly served in the military.