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Mrs. Hilary Gullace of Rochester, passed away peacefully on April 11, 2022, at the age of 87.  Hilary Ann Keeble was born on March 18, 1935 in the village of Brantham, England, where she grew up on her family’s farm. As a girl, she enjoyed reading, participating in theatrical productions, walking along the hedgerows, and riding her horse, Silver. During the Second World War, she went to boarding school for her own safety and remembers having to carry her Mickey Mouse gas mask. During this frightening period, she learned tremendous stoicism – a quality that she would retain all her life.

Hilary attended Cambridge University, Girton College, where she read English and graduated with an M.A. degree in British Literature. After graduation, she worked at Christie’s Auction House – a job that engaged her love of the arts. On a trip to Florence to further her knowledge of Art History, Hilary met a young Italian doctor, Carmelo Gullace, and they fell deeply in love. Hilary travelled with him to Calabria to meet his family and embraced the beautiful country, the warm and affectionate people, the delicious food, and the language – which she learned to speak fluently, with a charming English accent. Throughout their lives, they returned frequently to visit family in Italy and England and to introduce their children to their European roots.

Hilary and Carmelo married in 1960 at a small ceremony in Locri, Reggio Calabria. After a short period in Europe, they moved together to Rochester, N.Y., where he practiced medicine at the Rochester Psychiatric Center. Hilary was a loving mother and helpful spouse. She kept the books for Carmelo’s private practice, raised three children, and was an indefatigable reader, quilter, and gardener, who particularly loved her peonies. Hilary was an active grandmother, who not only played with her six grandchildren, but also helped teach them to draw, sew, build, and learn SAT vocabulary words. She was extremely witty, an excellent conversationalist, and, according to family lore, knew every word in the English language.

During her later years, Hilary’s memory and vocabulary faded, as she was struck by the same disease that took her father – Alzheimer’s. Through her final years, she made use of the stoicism she had learned as a child living through World War II.  When she could no longer be cared for at home, she moved to the Greenhouses in Penfield, N.Y., where she made close friends, listened to music, did Arts & Crafts, and, on a special trip, visited the Van Gogh Immersion Exhibition at the Dome Arena – an experience that appealed to so many of her passions.

Hilary was predeceased by her husband Carmelo in 2017. She is survived by her brother John, her three children, Nicky, John, and Joe, as well as her six beloved grandchildren, Charlie, Max, Peter, Emma Hilary, Anna, and Charlotte.

A service in remembrance of Hilary Gullace will be held on Saturday, July 2nd from 11:00am-12:30pm in the Medaille Formal Lounge,  Medaille Hall, Nazareth College. Nazareth College of Rochester is located at 4245 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618.  Visitor parking is in Parking lot A, located near the Arts Building. If you have any questions, please text Nicky at: (603) 498-7338.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be sent to the Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research at the University of Rochester Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience:

  • Navigate to:
  • Under “Gift Designation” select “Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience”
  • In the comment box, type: “Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center”
  • In the “In Honor/Memory” section, type in “Hilary Gullace” and select “In Memory of”

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