Dolores Frances Esposito (Didi) 92, joined her heavenly family on Friday, May 27th, 2022. She had a long and storied life and was loved and respected by all who knew her. She was a quick-witted problem solver with an impeccable memory who laughed easy and often. These beautiful qualities remained true of her until her very last days.
On June 2, 1929, Dolores was born in Brooklyn, New York. A precocious child, Dolores talked incessantly, so much so that her daddy gave her the nickname “Chatterbox.”
Her parents, Francis Esposito and Kathleen Hart Esposito began their family rebelliously in 1928. Though largely unpopular at the time, their union was a love story for the ages and became the cornerstone of Dolores’ younger years. The marriage of Italian and Irish cultures created a lively home filled with music, great food, and humor for Dolores and her younger brother Francis.
With her father, a beat cop in Brooklyn, working for the New York City Police Department, and her mother, a telephone operator for New York City Health and Hospitals, Dolores learned early what a civil servant was.
She walked the same path with pride. A natural investigator, Dolores might have followed in her father’s footsteps if it was allowed, but in 1947 it wasn’t. At first, she took a job as a telephone operator at Macy’s Department Store in Downtown Brooklyn, followed by New York Bell. Before long, she worked alongside her mother, Kathleen, at Kings County Hospital in Crown Heights.
In 1949 she married Harold Buseck of Brooklyn, and in November 1950, she was blessed with her beloved daughter Kathleen. In 1952 Dolores gave birth to her sweet son Harold.
The children were the light of her life, her marriage to Harold Senior ended shortly after that, and Dolores found herself amongst a new and growing breed of single working mothers. With the support of her family, she raised her children. With time and perseverance, Dolores built herself a career, ultimately ascending to become the Director of Communications at Kings County.
In 1971 she was dealt a terrible blow when her son Harold passed away at the age of eighteen. Later that same year, she found great comfort when her daughter Kathleen and son-in-law Michael had their daughter Karen Ann Casciotta, Dolores’ first grandchild.
When she wasn’t working, Dolores loved to watch her “shows,” The Carol Burnett Show, The Honeymooners, Archie Bunker, and her favorite Knots Landing. She loved books and puzzles, music and movies, rainbow sherbet and pineapple upside cake, ribbon candy, and peanut brittle. Most evenings, one could find her sitting on the big front porch people-watching, her police radio in hand.
In subsequent years Dolores retired, but that hardly stopped her. She relocated from Canarsie to Marlboro, New Jersey, where she lived with her mother Kathleen and built a new community of friends and neighbors. It turned out that no matter where Dolores lived, her home was a hub of activity. She loved to have friends over to chat and visit over a cup of coffee and a slice of crumb cake.
Dolores was overjoyed when in 1996, her Great-Grandchild, Hunter Tyler Lanovoi, was born to Karen and her husband, Ronen. She happily babysat Hunter while Karen and Ronen worked, and she took particular delight in the many tricks he played. Watching Hunter helped to anchor her after the loss of her mother, Kathleen, who passed away at 93 years of age in 2002.
Dolores would often say, “everything evens out.” In 2004 and 2007, two new children joined the family, Reese Layne Lanovoi and Sienna Sage Lanovoi, arrived, and the blessings were tripled. In 2005 Dolores and her daughter Kathleen relocated to Orlando, Florida, to be closer to their grandchildren, and Dolores continued to babysit for as long as she could. “They keep me young,” she would often say, sitting right down on the floor and playing with dolls and telling them stories of the Oscar the Bankrobber, Spanking Machines, World Wars, and presidents.
As the years wound down, Dolores continued to show great courage in the face of her hearing and vision loss, and in 2019 she flew across the Atlantic. She visited Europe for the first time in her 90 years, with a trip to Barcelona, Spain, and marveled that it “was just like Brooklyn.”
In her final days, Dolores talked a lot about her mother and father, brother and son, and even chatterbox. She left this earth peacefully with her loving daughter by her side.
Dolores, Didi, Grandma, Mom- means so much to so many and leaves a legacy of generosity, unconditional love, and acceptance.
They say that when an older person dies, a library burns. Dolores lived her life as an open book and shared her stories and wisdom often. In her nine-plus decades, she touched many lives and modeled kindness and fast forgiveness at every turn. We will honor her by following her excellent example. We will remember her stories and her story with smiles and tears for years to come.