Hilda Luz Vannata was born on April 12th, 1956, in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. She moved to New York as a child, together with her parents and siblings Carmen, Eva, Rosa, and Luis. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, she worked as a dental assistant at a private practice, and then as an administrative aide at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. She was known by all as a warm and caring person, always going out of her way to help anyone in need. And anyone who knew her, loved her.
At a young age, Hilda became a mother, her most humbling, wonderous and rewarding experience. She was stern, but also fun. She instilled in her son, Andy, a love for family and a sense of duty. She taught him to work hard and do the right thing because “you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind.” She also developed in him a love for music, dance, and laughter. In 1997, she earned an associate in arts degree from Eugenio Maria De Hostos Community College. This was the same year that Andy graduated college, which was a source of pride and humor for both. He is now a 20-year veteran of the NYPD, currently serving in the rank of Sergeant.
Throughout her life, Hilda embodied public service – honoring a family tradition of first responders and joining the Fire Department of the City of New York as an Emergency Services Technician (EMT). She served honorably for 26 years at Battalion 14 – Lincoln Hospital, which is where she met many lifelong friends and the love of her life, John.
John was a Police Officer with the NYPD who was later promoted to Sergeant. They married in 1997 and together, they enjoyed daily adventures, family gatherings and many vacations. She supported him throughout his military career and tour of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom. And, they endured the aftermath of 9/11, both volunteering countless hours in support of recovery efforts. They found great joy in sharing their Middle Village home with their loving dogs: Coco and Roxy.
Many have said that Hilda was “the life of the party” – a beloved wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, colleague, and friend. She passed away on Wednesday, September 20th, 2023, after a short, but spirited battle with 9/11-related pancreatic cancer. She will forever be missed.