On a cloudy but warm afternoon on the Hermosa Beach Pier, Nicolette “Nikki” Tedesco, the “Mother Teresa of the South Bay” who called everyone “lovey” was honored, was remembered and celebrated by a throng of her loved ones.
After Tedesco passed away last week at age 93, the people impacted the most by her charismatic and generous personality came together to keep her spirit alive and to recall her charitable nature Saturday afternoon.
“Pass it along today,” said Sunny Bray, a pastor at Breakwater Church who took care of Tedesco in her final days. “She didn’t do it for 40 plus years for it to stop here.”
Tedesco was known for her community outreach — specifically her annual Thanksgiving dinners, which often brought together as many as 2,000 people. Her strong presence in the South Bay community built from her time spent on the Hermosa Beach Pier — inviting anyone and everyone to come pray with her.
Dan Hubbard, her friend of 50 years, estimated the number of people she prayed with over the years easily reach into the six figures.
“Dozens in a day, hundreds in a week and thousands in a year,” he said.
“I was kind of her right-hand man,” said Hubbard. “She used to console us troublesome boys … I avoided her like the plague for 10 years or so until she finally caught up to me. Been going to church for almost 30 years now.”
While some tears were shed Saturday, most guests celebrated her life as many shared their personal stories on how they were impacted and how her faith wasn’t limited to one group of people, one church or one charity.
“Zealous, bigger than life, kind, generous and faithful,” Bray said. “She heard so many stories. She brought peace and comfort and hope.”
Bray recounted how she would regularly make about 200 sandwiches for the homeless and pass them out from Torrance all the way to Venice. She also held a prayer meeting in her home every week for the past 40 years as well.
“She would go out every day, rain or shine, and serve the community,” said Kurt Dahlin, Pastor at Break Water Church. “Always praying for people. So many people not even here today.”
Born a Catholic, Tedesco turned to evangelical Christianity when she was 40. She attended Hope Chapel for years and moved to Breakwater Foursquare Church several years ago.
Often clad in colorful flowing outfits and long skirts her friends described her as “charismatic,” and someone who impacted the community, “very positively” with her many testimonies.
Her spirit was alive and well Saturday as 60 people, just a fraction of the thousands of lives she touched throughout her 93 years, showed their love and appreciation for her with a white balloon.
They held hands, prayed, and sang hymns in remembrance of their dear friend.