Clissi Polanco Saiz

Clissi Polanco Saiz, of Barrington, passed away peacefully with her family by her side on February 8, 2016 at the age of 96. Clissi’s legacy is her love and devotion to family and the extraordinary passion and joy with which she embraced all aspects of her life. Clissi was born in Victoria de Las Tunas, Cuba on April 8, 1919. She was the daughter of Evangelista and Rosabla Polanco, and loved growing up in Cuba with her sister Esther and brother Terry. At the age of sixteen, Clissi met Alfonso Saiz, who would be her first dance, her first kiss and the absolute love of her life. They wed on March 27, 1942 and the following year welcomed their first child, Al. In 1945, Clissi and Alfonso moved their family to New York City where Alfonso, a professional pianist, would perform with his orchestra and Clissi, a gifted artist, opened an embroidery studio. Her masterful embroidery work was treasured by so many, including several US Presidents, the Vatican, the Queen of England and many movie stars. While living in New York, Clissi and Alfonso welcomed a daughter, Annabel. In 1985, Clissi and Alfonso relocated to Barrington, Rhode Island, to be closer to their children Al and Annabel, their son-in-law Mark Hanna, who they loved and cared for like their own, and their four adoring grandchildren, Erik, Todd, Erin and Ryan. In 1996, after 54 years of storybook love and marriage, Alfonso passed away. Clissi was the soul of her family, who affectionately called her “Ata”.  She was the consummate matriarch, always unconditionally caring, kind, generous, gentle, honest and hilarious. An extraordinary cook, her Cuban meals were the highlight of holidays and family celebrations.  Her adventurous spirit took her on travels around the globe and her joy of life inspired all those she encountered.  She not only celebrated each of her grandchildren’s weddings, she was life of the party. Later in her life, Clissi was at her happiest when surrounded by her four great-grandchildren, Owen, Gavin, Nico, and Karoline, and her loving dog Pookie. Funeral services will be private and at the convenience of the family.  A memorial mass service will be held on her birthday, Friday, April 8, 2016, 11 o’clock in the morning at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Barrington and will be open to all who wish to celebrate Clissi’s life.  Should friends desire, contributions may be made to Clissi’s favorite charity, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, at http://giftfunds.stjude.org/clissi.