Elizabeth Louise Crossland Matricaria died May 19 in Avon, Conn. She was 101.

Elizabeth was born at home in Ansonia, Conn., the first child of Minnie Mathilda Bukofske Crossland and Alfred Clifton Crossland. She was educated in the Ansonia public schools and at Federal Community College in New Haven, before graduating with highest honors from the Massachusetts General Hospital School of Nursing in 1939.

For more than 30 years, she enjoyed a varied career as a registered nurse, including working as a brain surgery scrub nurse for Dr. William German at Yale-New Haven Medical Center, and later as a private intensive care nurse, giving loving and professional care to patients of all religions, ethnicities, races and sexual orientation.

Elizabeth’s mother, Minnie, was one of 11 children, born to German immigrants, who knew plenty about the struggles faced by people striving for success and acceptance in a new land. When Minnie was 16 she married Alfred Crossland. They made their home in Ansonia, Conn., where Alfred worked his way up to become foreman of the welding department at The Farrel-Birmingham Corporation.

Some of Elizabeth’s earliest childhood memories remained vivid all her life. She remembered being 10 years old in 1927, keeping her eyes to the sky hoping to see Lindberg fly by. She also remembered the depression years, when it seemed everyone was struggling financially. She recalled that her mother never turned away itinerant workers who passed through town on the trains. Minnie’s house was marked as a place where a hot meal could be found and often a fresh loaf of bread to travel with.

In Boston, Elizabeth completed her professional training and married her high school sweetheart, Dorio Anthony Matricaria, the son of Italian immigrants. Dorio, who had graduated from Yale University with a degree in English, aspired to work for the leading Boston newspaper of the day, but was told, “Italians need not apply.”

The couple returned to Connecticut, Elizabeth began her nursing career, Dorio went on to more advanced academic degrees, and together they raised three daughters.

They instilled in their children the ideal of America as a melting pot and taught them that all are created equal and that all deserved a fair chance to achieve their potential.

Throughout her life, Elizabeth maintained high standards of care and concern for all of humanity, and it disturbed her to see anyone act with willful malice or cruelty. She wanted to live long enough to see an end to racial and ethnic bigotry in the nation she loved; unfortunately, even though she lived to be almost 102, it was not long enough. The names and ethnicities have changed, but the situation remains the same. It grieved her.

She also experienced moments of great joy, such as riding in the co-pilot’s seat as her daughter flew her to Martha’s Vineyard for vacations. At the age of 80 she mastered the computer and began research on the history of her home town in Connecticut with the intention of writing a book to chronicle its history and the life of its founder, Anson Phelps. She achieved her goal and more, adding a second book of personal memoirs. On her 96th birthday she celebrated the publication of her books, Anson’s Glory and A Backward Glance, with a party attended by family and friends.

In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her husband, Dorio in 1982; her sister, Grace Andrews Crossland Spurr; and her granddaughter Rachel Alice Petz Dowd.

She is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth Doreen Matricaria Hutchinson of Bridgton, Me., Aalia Kusmis (birth name Gail Matricaria) of Sanbornton, N.H., and Sharon Matricaria Kelly of Oak Bluffs; two grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be private.