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Your Turn: Remembering Mildred Cardoza, Norwich’s oldest Cape Verdean

Known to all as Millie, Mildred Cardoza was born on Aug. 13, 1920, and celebrated her 100th birthday at Three Rivers Healthcare in Norwich, where she was a resident for nine years.

Due to the COVID outbreak, she was presented with a proclamation from Congressman Joe Courtney without any fanfare. When this facility closed, she was transferred to Norwich Town Rehab & Care, where she passed away on Dec. 30.

Cardoza lived most of her life on Talman Street, the area where most Cape Verdeans first settled after arriving in Norwich. She was a member of the Cape Verdean Santiago Society and loved the music of the many Creole bands that played there; all who visited enjoyed the camaraderie. She also enjoyed the music of Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and other Big Band jazz greats, and she was elated when DJ John Simmons and his wife Adeline entertained the residents of Three Rivers approximately three years ago.

Cardoza worked at the American Woolen Factory and retired from Norwich State Hospital. While working there, she visited the chapel daily.

Although her family parish was St. Mary Church, she also attended Mass at St. Patrick Cathedral.

Cardoza is survived by her sister Mary Silva of Norwich and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents Manuel M. Cardoza Sr. and Senhorina (Gomes), sister Rose Santos, and brothers Jimmy, Robert, Leo, Charles, Manuel Jr. and Amuro.

We treasure the rich legacy Cardoza leaves to her family, friends and community!

Roberta J. Vincent lives in New London, where she is president of the St. Anthony Chapel Foundation. She is also member of the Norwich Arts Center Board, NFA Alumni Board and Norwich Lions.

Your Turn is a chance for readers to submit photos and stories. To contribute, email times@theday.com.

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