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Loretta Dolores Szychowski
June 27, 1929 - January 23, 2013
Resident of Soquel
Loretta Szychowski passed away on January 23, 2013, following a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease. Loretta was born on June 27, 1929 in Santa Cruz, CA to George Vera Casalegno. After graduating from Santa Cruz High in 1947, she went to work as a clerk in the City of Santa Cruz Police Court.
At age 21, Loretta Casalegno married a handsome young airman named Ted Szychowski, who was attending the Defense Foreign Language Institute in Monterey. After a cross-country honeymoon to meet her in-laws in PA, Loretta settled down with her new husband at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. While awaiting the birth of their first child, Loretta obtained a security clearance and went to work as a civilian clerk in classified Air Force Intelligence operations.
The next 18 years would see Loretta as the quintessential military wife, bouncing back and forth between 3 continents and both coasts of the US, with 4 youngsters in tow. To the end, Loretta was immensely proud of her experience as a military wife. As her late husband, Ted, once wrote, "Military wives are a breed of their own - they face the constant challenge of moving their family household to a new location every 2 - 3 years. In addition to maintaining a happy, secure environment for their active-duty spouse and children, they also serve as ambassadors for America in foreign lands." In this capacity, Loretta served her country with distinction. In fact, in later life she would often call upon the lessons learned as a military wife to help her meet the challenges of living with Parkinson's disease. Following her husband's retirement from the Air Force, Loretta returned to Santa Cruz where she, her husband and children would be welcomed home by her large Italian family, the Casalegno's.
After her children were grown, Loretta began her career as a "mail lady" with the Soquel Post Office. For 23 years, she provided the type of friendly, reliable and personal service that's only found in small towns like Soquel or the fictional town of Mayberry. Her customers meant the world to her, and the feeling was mutual. Through her long and distinguished career with the Postal Service, followed by her years of volunteer work with the Porter Memorial Library in Soquel, Loretta was a mainstay in her community. Not surprisingly, her decades of service to neighbor and community generated a circle of love and reciprocity that continued to give meaning to her life to the very end.
Loretta's favorite hobbies were cooking and gardening. She excelled at both and will always be remembered for her delicious Italian food, her beautiful gardens and hummingbird sanctuary. Preceded in death by her husband Ted, Loretta Szychowski is survived by her children Ries, Eileen, Steven (Beth) and Mark (Esther), and her five grandchildren: Zack, Angelo, Jessica, Nick, Gina Szychowski.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in Loretta's memory to:
Mountain Elementary School, 3042 Old San Jose Rd., Soquel, Ca 95073. Porter Memorial Library, 3050 Porter St., Soquel, Ca 95073. Or Hospice of Santa Cruz County, 940 Disc Dr., Scotts Valley, Ca 95066.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Jan. 26, 2013
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"Loretta...loyal,gifted and courageous. She will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with my dear..."
- Mary Klainer
"I had the pleasure of knowing Loretta in later life, but it's my childhood memories that endure. She..."
"What a beautiful tribute to Loretta, I loved the words that were written, thank you for sharing her life..."
- Mary Hadsall
"To Mark and Family: Love and prayers to all of you. If you need anything please feel free to call. I..."
- Judy Vierra
"To Mark and family - sending along our love and heartfelt condolences. Betty and Phil"
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