JEFFERSON - Ernestine “Rusti” Valenti, 89, Jefferson, passed away peacefully in her home on Wednesday, September 8, 2021.

Ernestina Elisa Maria Barile Swarbrick Valenti was an only child, born in Bronx, New York, a daughter to the late Oreste and Anita Soliano Barile. Her love for animals started at a very young age as she grew up living across the street from the Bronx Zoo. Mrs. Valenti was of the Christian faith, a graduate of Mother Cabrini High School Of New York City in 1950.

She then went on to open her own dance studio in the Bronx teaching many children her love for dance. In the early 1950s her love for children was so strong she became a foster parent. She continued to be well known by many as Aunt Rusti (both in N.J. and Ga.) in her 50-year career as a childcare provider while being an amazing, strong, loving, caring and selfless single mom of her own six children.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Anthony Valenti; as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Survivors include her daughters, Helen and her husband Carl Passera, New Jersey, Maryann and her husband Dennis Day, Jefferson (whom Mrs. Valenti resided with), Catherine Ax, New Jersey, and Carol Swarbrick, New Jersey; sons, Tom and his wife Brenda Swarbrick, Auburn, and John and his wife Carol Swarbrick, Walnut Grove; three bonus children, Judy Goodridge, Florida, Katharine McGovern, Florida, and Roberta Eckhardt of North Carolina; grandchildren, Catherine Day, Dennis and his wife Rachel Day, Lisa, Kristopher and Ryan Ax, Logan, Sam and Catherine Passera and Christopher Colfax; great-grandchildren, Avery and Noah Day; cousin Marc Matranga; and Goddaughter, Donna LaGrange.

Celebration of life: Saturday September 25, 2021 at 2 p.m. at her home in Jefferson.

Evans Funeral Home, Inc., 1350 Winder Highway, Jefferson, Georgia. Online condolences at

Published by MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.

Week of September 12-18

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