Anna Maria Di Cocco passed away quietly on the 18th of November at Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, New Jersey, after a short illness. She is survived by her children, Marie Luise, Ricardo (Lt Col, AF-Ret), Catarina, Marc (Lt Col, AF-Ret), and Christina. She also leaves ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as her brother, Hans Bopp, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. She was preceded in her heavenly journey by her husband, Chief Master Sergeant Severino Di Cocco (Air Force, retired), of Pennington, NJ, an infant son, Joseph, and her parents, Paul Franz Bopp and Eva Luise Bopp.
She was born Anna Maria Katharina Bopp on March 2nd, 1928 in the small town of Niederhöchstadt, Germany. She survived the horrors of World War Two as a young girl struggling daily for food, safety, and normalcy as she faced the constant danger of Allied bombings. After the war she provided clerical and translation support in Frankfurt for the American military as it labored to restore peace and prosperity to the German people. During the Berlin Airlift, Anna Maria was working for the commander of one of the US Air Force airlift squadrons. It was there she met a young airman, “Sevy” Di Cocco. It was only after his insistent pursuit of Anna that she finally agreed to a date “just so he would stop pestering me.” As the airlift drew to a close and his squadron left Germany, Sevy wrote to Anna repeatedly with words of romance and affection. Their love for each other grew over the months and miles culminating in their marriage on October 4th, 1952, in her hometown in Germany.
Like many other postwar German brides, Anna came to America facing the challenges of being newly wed to a husband in the military. Throughout Sevy’s career of nearly 30 years, she made a home wherever they lived during his various Air Force assignments across the United States and Europe. She worked various jobs to help support their family. As a self-described “ferocious reader” one of her favorite occupations over the years was being a librarian’s assistant. When Sevy retired and they moved back to Pennington, Anna worked for many years as an assistant librarian and office assistant at Hopewell Valley Central High School. She was an accomplished cook and loved to bake, especially at Christmas, when she would give boxes and tins of cakes and cookies to her friends, coworkers, children’s teachers, and later to her grown children’s families.
Anna also fell in love with American football, first for teams at the Air Force base in Frankfurt, Germany, and in later years rooting for various NFL teams during their frequent moves. She also loved to travel, earlier as a young mother with her family across Europe and the United States, and in retirement with her husband touring far-flung locations from Alaska to Mexico, Panama, Kazakhstan, Korea, Israel, Italy, her beloved Germany, and Russia. Anna enjoyed gardening, growing both beautiful flowers and the many fruits and vegetables she prepared for the dinner table. She enjoyed the outdoors of her home in Pennington and could often be seen feeding the birds--and chasing squirrels and deer away from the garden.
Anna was an active parishioner with Sevy at St. James Catholic Church in Pennington, serving as a Eucharistic Minister and singing in the choir for many years. She also volunteered at the St Lawrence Rehabilitation Center in Lawrenceville. In recent years since her husband’s passing, she resided at Brandywine Living in Pennington, where she made many friends among the residents and staff, and enjoyed many trips and resident activities.
She will be missed by her children and her extended family and friends. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Foundation of Morris Hall/St Lawrence. Viewing will be at St. James Catholic Church in Pennington, NJ, on Saturday, November 25th, at 9 am, followed by the funeral mass at 10 am. Burial will follow at a future date at Arlington National Cemetery. Arrangements are under the care of the Blackwell Memorial Home, Pennington. www.blackwellmh.com