Published in the August 2, 2017 edition.
KEAAU, Hawaii — Elena Marie Barsanti, 50, an artist and musician, died on Monday, July 24, at her home in Keaau, Hawaii, after a 15-month battle with leukemia.
A native of Wakefield, she was the daughter of Benito and Mary (O’Rourke) Barsanti and was born on August 12, 1966, the second of three children. Elena graduated from Wakefield High School in 1984, and from Emerson College in Boston in 1992. After college, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked in restaurants and cafes while painting in her spare time.
Elena moved to Keaau, near Hilo on Hawaii Island in 2001, and it became her spiritual home. Together with her partner of 20 years, Angela Racho, they built a house outside of Hilo, fulfilling a dream they had shared for many years.
For Elena, making art was essential to life. She was happiest when she was painting or embroidering, making stained glass or, especially, singing. She was known in Hilo for her singing at the weekly farmers’ market, partly to attract customers, but mostly just for the joy of it.
In addition to her partner, Elena is survived by her brothers, Robert P. Barsanti of Dalton, Mass. and Michael J. Barsanti of Philadelphia, Pa., her sisters-in-law Victoria Racho and Adora Racho, and many nieces and nephews.
A service is being planned for later this fall.