Elisa M. Kennedy passed away on Sat. May 6, 2023, at Overlook Hospital in Summit. She was 87.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, she was the first child of Anthony and Rose (Mascolo) Testa. She attended Lafayette High School and was the first member of her family to attend college, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in 1956. She continued to live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan until starting a family and moving to Morristown, NJ in the early 1960s. She also lived in Florham Park, Bridgewater, and Mendham, where she resided for 38 years. She moved to Mountainside, NJ in 2018.
Elisa returned to school in the 1980s and received a master’s degree from William Patterson University. She was employed as a writer and editor for ATT from the mid-1980s through the 2000s. Prior to entering the corporate world, Elisa worked for many years as a theatrical producer and publicist for multiple theaters in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. After retirement she enjoyed working at Mendham Books, where she could frequently be found reading for children’s hour.
She is remembered for her warm smile, easy laugh, and friendly demeanor. She had many interests, including a great affection for animals, and would (too) frequently donate to as many animal causes as possible. She was active in the New Jersey theatrical community for more than 50 years, where she forged many lasting and loving friendships. She was a legacy member of the Barn Theater in Montville, where she also served on both the Board of Directors and Trustees. Elisa loved her Italian heritage and shared many wonderful, funny stories about her childhood in Brooklyn, day trips to Ebbets Field, and growing up in a Bensonhurst home that housed three generations of family. Most of all, Elisa loved her family and dear friends.
She is preceded by her parents and her brother Ralph Testa.
She is survived by her three adoring children: John A.C. Kennedy of Springfield, NJ, Christine Kennedy Soden of Missoula, MT, and Justin Kennedy of Providence, RI, and her loving brother Tony (Sandy) Blake of Los Angeles, CA. She is also survived by her four grandchildren, Dexter Kennedy, Roselisa Soden, Austin Soden, Faith Soden, her dear cousin Adelaide DiGiorgi, sister-in-law Charlotte Testa, and countless nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday May 16, from 4-7pm at the Bailey Funeral Home, 8 Hilltop Rd., Mendham. Funeral Mass Wednesday 11am at St. Joseph Church, Mendham. Interment to follow at Hilltop Cemetery. For those desiring, donations to the ASPCA, in her memory, would be appreciated.