Toczko, Alexander and Jeannette 1919 ~ 2015 SAN DIEGO -- Alexander Joseph Toczko, (95), died June 17. His beloved wife, Jeannette Dolores, née Malachowski, (96), passed away the next day. They had been married for nearly 75 years. Al and Jay died peacefully at home surrounded by the love and care of family. According to Al and Jay, they met and fell in love when they were eight years old. For many years, "Tucker," as Al was known in his childhood, carried in his wallet a photograph of Jay dressed for her first communion. Their commitment to each other transcended time. They were born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1919 to parents who came from Poland. Al (9-26-1919) was the youngest of eight siblings. Jay (2-27-1919) was the second to the youngest of nine. Like many immigrants of the time, Al's father, Joseph, worked on farms in New England. Contrary to expectations that a hired man's son would work alongside his father in the fields, Joseph wanted his son to spend his days in school in order to receive a formal education. Al served during World War II in the US Navy as a telegraph operator. Al returned home safely to his growing young family after the war and began in earnest to pursue work in advertising and art direction which led him to a very successful career in New York City during the heyday of Madison Avenue advertising of the 1950s and 60s. Simultaneously, he immersed himself in the exciting worlds of Abstract Expressionism and Pop/Op Art through enrollment in art classes at night at the New School in lower Manhattan. Always up for an adventure and eager to seek new opportunities and a warmer climate, the couple moved to San Diego in 1971 with their youngest daughter. Drawing on his many years of experience in New York City and his deep knowledge of the creative process, Al established his own advertising and fashion photography firm, Blue Sky, from the house/ studio he had designed and built in the hills above Pacific Beach. Jay served expertly as his chief stylist. Together they made a formidable creative team for the next 15 years, spearheading award-winning campaigns for many Southern California businesses and non-profit organizations. Al loved golf-the game, hustle and gregariousness, as well as the chance to observe figures and light in the landscape. At the age of 70, after a lifetime of commercial art work, Al was able to dedicate himself fully to painting and drawing. He had a one-man show at Fuze Gallery in San Diego in 2004, exhibited in group shows in San Diego, Los Angeles, and Tucson, and could often be found sketching at his favorite golf courses -- Balboa and Torrey Pines. Jay is lovingly remembered as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She knew children and she loved children. No birthday or special event went unremembered. She tucked sticks of chewing gum into cards from where they were happily plucked and gobbled. In her youth, Jeannette dove off bridges to swim in the Stamford harbor. More than once, she rescued a struggling child from a country club swimming pool. Jay made every home she lived in a beautiful shrine to the creativity of her family and the wondrous blessing of life. Elegant, steadfast, and sincere, she was the heart of the family. The couple is survived by Jeannette's sister, Loretta Faragher; children: Donna Tang, Richard Toczko, Lynne Edwards, Andra Toczko, and Aimee Toczko Cushman; grandchildren: Gretchen Gibbs, Lissa Gibbs, Geoff Woodcock, Gregg Woodcock, Michelle Toczko, Lauren Toczko, David Wing Tang, Jennifer Stermon, Jackie Batts, and Chris Bourcy; and great- grandchildren: Theo, Tessa, Twyla, Chloe, Christian and Grace, with another expected shortly. Friends and family are all invited to a funeral mass and celebration of Alexander and Jeannette's lives and their 75th Wedding Anniversary on June 27, 11:45 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Old Town San Diego. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the Immaculate Conception Church's building fund for ongoing repairs, 2540 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110.
Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Jun. 26, 2015.