Frances Helen Salwak
February 20, 1922 - August 29, 2020
Beloved and devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, Frances Helen Salwak was born on February 20, 1922 in Orange, Massachusetts and passed on August 29, 2020 at her home in San Diego where she had resided since 1980 and where she most wanted to be. Right to her last day she was fully engaged with life, slipping away peacefully and unexpectedly while sitting in her favorite rocking chair. Among her greatest joys was her relationship with her family. She was deeply interested in everything they did and kept a detailed diary of events most of her life. Her sons will miss profoundly the daily telephone calls, the weekly visits, and above all the words, as only a mother can ask, "How are you?"Voracious reader, author of a novel (The Iron Gate), biography (Mary Roberts Rinehart), and many literary studies, trained classical pianist, avid tennis player, swimmer, and golfer she was fully engaged with life. She received her B.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts and pursued additional studies in musicology and music theory at Purdue University. She married Stanley Francis Salwak in 1945 (deceased 2005) who served in the Pacific at Iwo Jima during World War II as a commissioned naval officer, was recommended for a silver star, and retired twenty-eight years later as Commander.Together with her husband, she raised their two sons, Dale (1947-) and Glenn (1952-) and lived in Amherst, Massachusetts (where her husband served as assistant to the Provost, University of Massachusetts), West Lafayette, Indiana (where her husband served as Director of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation), and Presque Isle, Maine (where her husband served as president of the University of Maine, 1969-80). They moved to San Diego in 1980 where he taught for many years high school chemistry. Now they are together again after 60 years of marriage.Her family will be forever grateful for the extraordinary care and love shown to her by her caregivers over the past 12 years (Connie and Tricia as well as a number of others), enabling her to remain safe and comfortable in her own home; and to her team of dedicated Scripps La Jolla physicians who cared for her over many years, including Sanjeev Shah, M.D. (Internal), Robert Russo, M.D. (Cardiology), James T. Heywood, M.D. (Cardiology), and Brett Moore (Dermatology).Survivors include sons Dale, 73, La Verne, CA; and Glenn, 68, Indianapolis; daughters-in-law Patti, 62, La Verne; pre-deceased by Betty in 2014, Indianapolis; and grandchildren Ryan, 32, La Verne; Lina, 32, Portland, OR; and Scott, 28, Indianapolis. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Stanley, 2005.Visitation (11:30-1:00) and graveside service (1:00-1:30) will be held on Thursday, September 10th, at the El Camino Memorial Funeral Home & Park, 5600 Carroll Canyon Road, San Diego.
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Sep. 9, 2020.