Rose Bezilla, a homemaker and former candy store clerk, died of cancer Saturday at Mercy Medical Center. She was 77.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Rose Lewandowski worked during World War II as a telephone switchboard operator after her graduation from high school.
She married John Bezilla in 1946, and the couple lived in California and Maine before settling on Fleet Street in Baltimore's Fells Point in the early 1960s. Her husband, a postal worker, died in 1994.
After raising 12 children, Mrs. Bezilla worked during the 1980s as a clerk for Sweet Craft, a Harborplace candy shop.
She liked traveling, sewing, swimming, playing the mandolin and accordion and polka dancing. An accomplished cook, she enjoyed preparing Polish specialties for family and neighbors.
She was a former longtime communicant of the now-closed St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic Church.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today at St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church, 2736 O'Donnell St.
Mrs. Bezilla is survived by six sons, Steven Bezilla of Baltimore, John Bezilla Jr. of Kasilof, Alaska, Michael Bezilla of Soldotna, Alaska, Paul Bezilla of Anchorage, Alaska, Thomas Bezilla of East Hampton, Conn., and Charles Bezilla of Laurel; five daughters, Dianne Guthridge of Columbia, Michelle Rice of Soldotna, Janine Szabad of Bel Air, Rosemarie McCafferty of Clifton, Va., and Lorraine Bezilla of Timonium; two brothers, Arthur Lewandowski of Seal Beach, Calif., and Winslow "Slim" Lewandowski of Grants Pass, Ore.; a sister, Lily Kite of Orange, Calif.; 21 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. Another son, Christopher Bezilla, died in 1995.