Isaura Serode was quiet and usually kept to herself. But in her later years, a feisty side emerged.

“When she was at the nursing home, when she didn’t want to take her medicine, she would tell them, ‘You can bother somebody else now,’” said her daughter, Ellen Vaughan of New Bedford.

“Other times, she would say, ‘I’m fine, now go see somebody else,’” Vaughan said.

Isaura Serode.
Courtesy of Machnowski Funeral Home

Serode died Sept. 24, 2020, at the Sacred Heart Home in New Bedford. She was 91.

“The staff at Sacred Heart Home appreciated her sense of humor,” Vaughan said. “But they called her feisty, too. She could be feisty when she didn’t get her own way.”

Serode was born in New Bedford to parents who had emigrated from Portugal. She grew up on Belleville Avenue with two sisters and a brother. She didn’t often talk about her childhood, though she mentioned a hurricane in the late 1930s that brought the water right up to her house.

After graduating from New Bedford High School, she was interested in becoming a secretary, “but then life got in the way,” as Vaughan said. Serode married and had five children; four daughters and one son. 

“She had jobs here and there, but she was mostly a housewife,” Vaughan said.

One of Serode’s favorite pastimes was cooking. She even had one recipe published in a local newspaper for senior citizens.

“She always liked to try new recipes,” Vaughan said. “Some of them were good. Some of them were, well …”

Serode also enjoyed reading, attending senior citizen activities at Brooklawn Park, and going to church bazaars and penny sales. She liked Bingo nights at the parish hall, but not really for the social gathering part.

“She mostly liked winning,” Vaughan said.

During the early days of the pandemic, Vaughan and other relatives would visit Serode at the Sacred Heart Home every Friday afternoon. They would all sit outside, 6 feet apart, wearing masks.

“She was hard of hearing, so she had a hard time hearing us with the masks and it was hard for us to hear her, but we made the best of it,” Vaughan said.

After Serode tested positive for COVID-19 and as her health deteriorated, the staff at the Sacred Heart Home allowed the family to see her near the end. Vaughan said her mother appeared comfortable, though she was unable to speak.

Serode was understated in many ways, but her presence is still felt by her children, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

“Basically, she was a simple woman who lived a simple life,” Vaughan said. “But she won’t be forgotten.”

Collage of New Bedford people who died in COVID pandemic featured in memorial.

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As the city emerges from the long siege of COVID-19, we pause to take stock of what – and whom – we’ve lost. Please help build this community memorial by adding a tribute to your loved one.

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