Ethel Invernizzi, 93, kindergarten teacher for 35 years

Ethel Invernizzi
Ethel Invernizzi
Posted: July 31, 2014

Ethel Invernizzi, 93, of Center City, a longtime kindergarten teacher, died Wednesday, July 23, of complications from a stroke at her home in the Watermark at Logan Square.

Miss Invernizzi was born in Arlington, Mass. Not long afterward, her family moved to Philadelphia, where her father, an Italian immigrant, had landed a job as a printer at Curtis Publishing Co.

She graduated from West Philadelphia High School in 1938 and from Temple University in 1943. She was the first of her family to go to college.

Since she had majored in education, she opted to become a kindergarten teacher at the W.C. Longstreth School in Southwest Philadelphia. The job was a good fit; she stayed there for the next 35 years.

"At 4-foot-8, Ethel wasn't very tall," said her nephew, Michael Guinn, "and she used to joke that she picked kindergarten because it was the one group of students that would probably be shorter that she was."

Miss Invernizzi taught 35 students in the morning session, and 35 different students in the afternoon, so she developed an ability to learn names quickly.

Her pupils, on the other hand, had trouble pronouncing Invernizzi, so they called her Miss "Inversneezy," said her nephew. "She was totally amused with what the kids did. She thought it was funny."

She taught at Longstreth for so long that, toward the end of her tenure, she worked under a principal who had been one of her pupils.

After she retired in 1979, Miss Invernizzi lived in Lansdowne and then Glenolden. During that period, she became a "mall walker" at the MacDade Mall. She and her many senior friends would walk the loop inside the mall before most of the stores opened; she enjoyed the exercise and the sociability, her nephew said.

Miss Invernizzi was a member of St. George Roman Catholic Church in Glenolden. In 2009, she moved to the Watermark, a high-rise retirement community in Philadelphia.

"She retained the same positive, cheerful attitude with the older generation that she had had with her kindergarten students," her nephew said. "And she remembered everyone's name."

In addition to her nephew, she is survived by a great-nephew, a great-niece, and a great-great-niece. A sister, Dorothy Guinn, died in 2005.

A celebration of her life will be at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at the Watermark, 2 Franklin Town Blvd., Philadelphia. Burial was private.


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