Friday, May 2, 2014

David Thomas French

David passed away on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.  He was one of a kind.  Calm, even tempered, and a deep thinker at heart, he loved to laugh and believed you should find the humor in everything.  His favorite things included the music of the Rolling Stones, reading Stephen King novels, playing Texas Hold Em poker online, and going camping for vacation.

David is predeceased by his parents and a sister, and is survived by two sisters.  Early in life he worked with his father in the family well drilling business.  Working with his dad was always remembered as a source of pride for David.  While battling with alcohol for most of his adult life, David typically worked odd jobs here and there and really enjoyed the time he spent landscaping.

He shared the last eighteen years of his life with his devoted companion, Michele Tillman.  Remembering stories about David makes her smile, especially when telling the April Fools Day pranks he liked to pull on her.  She also wants everyone to remember his deep compassion for others.  He never turned people away who would come up in public asking for spare change.  He was even concerned about the proper and most humane way to kill insects!  He truly had a huge heart and will be greatly missed.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Brian Paul Dunham

Brian passed away on November 16th, 2013 due to complications of diabetes.

He was the proud father of Lance and Justin Dunham.  He was preceded in death by his mother Myrna Dunham, brothers Mark and Lance.  He is survived by his father Larry Dunham, sisters Catherine, Cheryl, and Caryn.  Nieces and nephews, Nicole, Jacob, Shayna Elianna, Alexandra, Tay, Jayden, and Artayzia.

Brian grew up in Fairview Park, Ohio before joining the military.  After graduating from high school, he served in the Navy for two years and then followed his passion by becoming a U. S. Marine.  He served for four years and wanted to re-enlist and at this time he found out he was diabetic.  He received an honorable discharge.

Eventually, he followed his sister Cathy to Tucson, Arizona to attend college for marine biology.  A few years later, yearning to be close to the water, Brian moved to Orlando, Florida with his sisters Cheryl and Caryn.  He then started a career in the timeshare industry.

Brian loved riding his motorcycle, scuba diving, and eating!  He had a funny sense of humor, sometimes quite sarcastic.  He was passionate about his beliefs.  Rule #1- Brian was always right!   Rule #2 - Refer to Rule #1!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Rose (Visconti) Sequenzia 6/13/28 - 10/14/13

There is nothing like an Italian grandmother.  She cooks, she loves you unconditionally, and did I mention that she cooks?!!  Rose was the world’s greatest Italian grandmother. 

She was very religious and she always prayed for everyone she cared about. She was one of the few people that lived on this earth who practiced what they preached.  She wanted to be less judgmental, less resentful, and she was the way she was with others because of how she perceived her own shortcomings. Rose gave so much of herself while not having many material things.

Family was the most important thing to her. She loved to have a lot of people around and make all the food. Even in her small apartment, she had as many as 15 people for holidays or just invited them to dinner.  Rose knew how to make the most of what she had and she showed her love through the food she cooked.

She loved to play bingo and was determined to win. She did win sometimes, but mostly she just loved to play. She played the lottery as well and always talked of how she would give her children most of her winnings, so they wouldn’t have to work so hard.  Rose loved to laugh, she loved family, she loved life and she tried to take care of everyone that would let her. She was amazing and one of a kind.

Rose loved Television – she loved old shows like Mannix, Streets of San Francisco, Murder She Wrote, CSI, and old Sherlock Holmes movies. She loved to laugh and most recently she liked Two and a half Men.  She loved Lobster, she loved the ocean, loved Luciano Pavarotti and Broadway shows. She loved to laugh and she loved to cook. She cooked for everyone and you couldn’t get her to stop if you wanted her to.  Lentil soup, pea soup, minestrone soup, meatball soup and on and on…  She made the best meatballs and peppers, custard, anise cookies, pasta with meat sauce, pasta with meat balls, lasagna, chicken marsala, chicken with olives, risotto, cutlets, stuffed shells. The list is endless. Everyone who knew her would tell you their favorite dish.

No one could really call Rose a “stranger” because she befriended everyone.  So many people cared for her, as she cared for them.  There are far too many to list everyone, but in recent years, some of her favorite people were:

Francesca, her oldest daughter – She loved to take care of Rose. She was always there for her and made sure she had everything she needed in her home. They may have butted heads often, but only because they were a lot alike. Rose and Fran are both strong women, with generous, loving souls.

RoseAnn, her middle daughter – Rose and RoseAnn were active companions.  They loved to go to tag sales, or to the Big E, or pick apples.   Rose loved spending summers in Connecticut with RoseAnn and her grandsons, Frank and Philip.

Venerando, her youngest son – He loved listening to Rose tell him about the old days with her mother (his grandmother), her father, and her sisters and brothers.  The thing that made them close was her unconditional love for Ven, his daughter Amy, and she always wanted to know how he was, and would tell him that he was working too hard.   

Salvatore, her brother – She loved to go out to breakfast with Sal and his wife Marion. She loved to travel with him – went to Italy together. She loved to cook for him too.

Evelyn and Steve, her niece and nephew – she loved to help them and watch their daughters when they were younger. Also, she would cook for them too!

Mickey Prieto, former neighbor and dear friend – Rose kept in touch with Mickey even after she moved away from the old neighborhood many years ago. She used to cook for her and invite her over. Mickey also helped Rose as she got sick and made her days more pleasant by simply being with her.

Again, there are too many people to list.  Family and friends were everything to Rose. They were what made the world go around. 

Rose loved to tell stories about her mother, and how Anna Zappulla was a bootlegger while trying to raise six children alone.  Or, the favorite story about her trip to the White House, and sitting next to the King of Romania at a State dinner during the Nixon presidency. 

She dreamed of creating a guide to everything Italian. It stemmed from her husband’s vision, and she never let it go. While going through some of her things, the family found pages and pages of restaurants, shops, stores, galleries, etc. (with some as far away as Alaska) of Italian owned or themed businesses. She never gave up looking. She may have used creating the guide to pass the time, but she really hoped that someday it would be published.

Rose was one of a kind.  She loved her entire family.  She was even sure to write a note, or send a post card, or telephone family in Italy.   She experienced life through giving to her family and friends just like any great Italian grandmother!

This is a living tribute to Rose Sequenzia.  If you have stories, photos, or anything special you would like to add, you can post it in the comments below, or email me directly at  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Elizabeth M. Head 4/15/1919 - 6/22/2013

My Memories of Betty Head
By Barbara Ellers

I met Betty in 1993, shortly after moving into a home in Orlando in the Granada Villas community. Her brother, Leonard (Len) Johnson, was my next door neighbor, and I felt as if I’d known them forever from the first meeting. Betty and her husband Arthur lived in Lake Placid, Florida, but they visited Leonard frequently and stayed for several days. It was on one of those visits that I met Betty. Betty was only a year older than Len, but their relationship was more like many identical twins share.  The two of them were individually funny and together hilarious. Len’s gift was telling stories (many made up on the spot), and Betty’s was the quick comeback.  We’ve all thought of a good rejoinder after the fact, but Betty just said what she needed to say when it counted.

Leonard loved to cook and to entertain, so Thanksgiving was a great opportunity to have a party with family and friends. Betty was a good cook in her own right, but when Len was around, she played the part of Len’s reluctant assistant. I don’t remember much about the dinner that day because the show was watching the two of them cooking together. It was a little like watching a Marx Brothers movie except that they weren’t trying to be funny.  We were all sipping wine or Scotch, and as the afternoon passed, so did the miscommunications, preparation duplications, and omissions.  Over the years, I spent many hours with them in one of our kitchens, and it was always good for laughs and storytelling.

In 1998, my mother, Erna then 84, moved in with me after a series of illnesses. Betty and my mother liked each other immediately since they both loved to laugh and had common interests. They loved to play cards, Cribbage mostly, and do crossword puzzles. Betty and Art felt a bit isolated when the snowbirds in their community went back north for the summer, so they often came to Orlando to stay with us for a few days and pass time playing Cribbage and reminiscing about their childhoods. They grew up in similar circumstances and loved to tell stories about their misadventures growing up.  When Len moved to Seattle in 2000 to live with his daughter, Art and Betty made frequent trips to Orlando to visit us.

In 2005, Arthur died after a short illness, and we invited Betty for extended stays with us.  I was working long hours on a project, and Betty helped me take care of my mother, who was growing more frail and couldn’t be left alone for more than an hour or so. I hired someone to come in for a few hours each day to help her, but my mother relied more on Betty to be with her. This was a difficult time for my mother and me, and Betty’s friendship was a godsend to us. I could not have managed my job and mother during this time without her help, and I told her so many times.  My hope is that she didn’t think that those were just words.
In August 2006, my mother died from coronary heart failure, and shortly after, I asked Betty if she would like to move in with me. She was growing fearful of living alone in a half-deserted community during the summers, and I had a bedroom for her to move in to.  She was like an older sister or aunt to me because she was so young-at-heart and in her thinking.  To me and many others, she looked and acted like someone much younger. My friends quickly became her friends, and my cats adopted her. In fact, they often preferred to sit on her lap, the turncoats! To her, they were “the children.” Mia, a sweet gentle thing, would wait at her bedroom door every morning and greet her with a little purr and the expectation of a tummy rub. Betty played and protected them as if they were her own. They loved the attention and competed for her brushings.  In the past few months since her death, I’ve noticed that they go into her old room and sniff around looking for her. 

Betty had a passion for music, and she had a remarkable ability to recall the lyrics of hundreds of songs, mostly the 30’s and 40’s. She also wrote her own lyrics and melodies on scraps of paper and saved them in her collection of mementos.  About two years ago, her close friend June introduced her friend Stacy who is a musician.  Stacey scored some of her songs for her so that she would have something more formal to document her talents.  She had never learned to read music, but she always wanted a keyboard to play her songs by ear. Last year, she and I bought my neighbor’s piano, and, at 94, she taught herself to play her songs with both hands. She practiced by herself, and one day I came home from work, and she surprised me with one of her songs!  That was a lesson to me that one is never too old to accomplish new things.

We all miss her and think of her often.  I wish that everyone would have someone like Betty in their lives. The world would be better for it.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tamitha Walker

Tamitha Walker was born on July 2, 1969 and died on July 13, 2013.  Her nickname was Tammy.  And, the most important thing is her life were her children.   She fought hard for each and every one of them knowing her life would be complete only when she could just have all of them in the same room, at the same time.  She was passionate about wanting them to be successful in life so she focused her life around her family and positive people.

Her daughter, Nicole, remembers, "My mother would call me at two in the morning to talk about her childhood and how her mother was when she was alive.  About thirty minutes would pass, and she would say 'Baby, I'm sorry, I know you're tired but all I want is someone to listen and I knew you would.'  I would listen until she was tired and we would say goodnight, call you tomorrow."

Tammy was very upbeat and loved to laugh.  The life of the party, there was never a dull moment when she was around.  Tammy was always on the go, and although she wanted to live her life the way she wanted, she was still concerned with what other people thought of her.  Yet, she never let anyone hold her down!  She loved music by Mary J. Blige and Whitney Houston, good movies like Waiting to Exhale, reality tv shows, and a good meal of crab and fried okra.

As Tammy joins her mother, Grace Walker, she predeceases her father, Randolph Green.  She also leaves behind seven children:  Llamia "Nicole" Walker; Marce' "Bashund" Walker; Tytiana Walker; Najeer Walker; Azmond Walker; Ayhanna Moody; and Najae Walker.  Tammy had five sisters: Venita Muhammed; Frances Walker; Kimberly Green; Cherrice Battle; and Jentora Battle.  She had two brothers: Albert Walker; and the late Randolph "Tyron" Green Jr.  She also leaves behind a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Judith Ann Kowalski

Daughter, mother, sister, aunt, grandma, friend.  There are a lot of words to describe Judy, the best of which is beloved.  The words below, from Rosemary, describe Judy from her perspective.  Please share your comments and recollections after reading.

My sister Judy, or Sushka, as I liked to call her, was quite an interesting person.  Over the years she was involved with several hobbies and I have  listed them below with a brief description.

Raising her boys - Chris and Joey were her number one priority and she dedicated her life to them in many different ways.

Housewife - Judy had the cleanest house I've ever been in.  You could actually eat off of her floors.  She was a true "housewife", making sure dinner was on the table at a certain time and everything was in it's proper place.  The boys even had to clean their rooms to her satisfaction or they were sure to hear about it.  She taught me many things about housekeeping, but the one I remember the most is the proper way to fold a fitted sheet.  She had fun with that one!

Gardening - Judy had the most beautiful garden.  She was always trying to help me find my green thumb which I always told her I never had.  She would take me out in her backyard and show me every plant and flower and tell me what they were.  She would give me pieces of the plants to take home and put in my garden, and I still have a few but most of them I killed.

T.V. - since Judy became disabled, she spent most of her time watching TV.  Her favorite shows were NCIS, CSI and Law & Order.  She also was an avid soap opera fan and liked to discuss them with Grace and Nancy on a daily basis.

Judy loved her grandchildren and was disappointed that she couldn't help them more.  Although she didn't have much in the way of material things, she would give them her last dollar if they needed it.

Judy was greatly loved by her family and will be missed every day.  Please enjoy the photos below and leave your stories or comments for the family.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Rudolph Laslo Chiki Jr.

When remembering Rudy, there are many words that could be written.  None of them quite capture the essence of his spirit better than those of his family and friends.

From Carol Tracy
Rudy, how will I ever find all the little things in this house, that only you know where they are.  I’m not real fond of the garbage & recycle detail, and now I understand why you helped me pick out that new handy dandy Little Giant ladder for the upcoming house projects, so I would be safe.  You poor thing, how many times did you come home to find me in over my head with yet another home project “vision”, and had to dig me out of my mess and help me finish it.  My home improvement skills never quite matched up with my visions, but you would still let me dream, and would break it to me gently that we couldn’t quite do it that way.  I see all your hard work everywhere I look in our home, right down to the beautiful backsplash in the kitchen, which would be your last project.  You loved being a Dad and you were an excellent Dad to our 3 children, giving them someone to look up to for guidance and love.  You were also an excellent PopPop to your 4 beautiful grandchildren.  We will tell them, always how much you loved playing with them.  Thank you my Love, for 25-1/2 years of wonderful memories.  I’ll cherish every one of them, and they will sustain me until we meet again.  I’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!

From Ilde Moran
He loved the family.  He adored both his children and grandchildren.  I enjoyed every time I got to go on a car ride with him.  He would always give me his wisdom as I grew up.

From: Janet and Jim Johnson
Rudy was not only our brother-in-law, but a great friend. He loved and adored my sister Carol, was a wonderful father to his children and adored playing with his four grandchildren. He was always willing to help. We remember when he came to help us secure a tarp over our leaky roof after one of our nasty Florida thunderstorms. He enjoyed getting together with us and the rest of the hometown friends from Phillipsburg, NJ who live in the Orlando area. Years ago, when Rudy was in the embroidery business, our group decided we should have shirts with a hometown logo. We wanted to wear them on occasions when we all got together. One of the group and Rudy came up with the idea and Rudy designed it to embroider on the shirts. The P- and a hamburger design, P’burg (short for Phillipsburg) shirts were born. We proudly wore them at our get-togethers. His embroidery designs were beautiful. He was so creative in bringing them to life. We were so fortunate to have him as a member of our family and he will be greatly missed.

From Margo Lisi
Rudy was one of our favorite people in Florida!  He never said an unkind word about anyone!  I especially loved how he called everyone “Bud”, even lizards were “Little Buddies!”

From Greg Lisi
I always tried to start a (semi) serious conversation with Rudy, but it always wound up with the both of us laughing until our sides hurt!

How will I ever find all the little things in this house, that only you know where they are; I'm not real fond of the garbage & recycle detail & now I know why you helped me pick out that new handy dandy Little Giant ladder for the upcoming house projects so I would be safe. Thank you my Love, for 25-1/2 years of memories. I'LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU!
From Dave Klega
Rudy was a true friend, a hard-working guy and extremely honest.  We were having our new house built, and Rudy’s job was to finish all the points on the final to-do list.  The company told him to skip over some of the points that we might not notice, but Rudy insisted on finishing every point on the list.  He told us he just couldn’t sign off on the list if he hadn’t finished it; he just wasn’t built that way.

From Barbara Birch
Rudy, to me, is the “Ultimate Daddy.”  I have always admired him for being the stay-at-home Dad who loved and nurtured baby Dana.  In the last few years, watching him play with Lucas felt like “déjà vu” and immediately took me back to those early years with Dana.  I especially loved hearing him talk about his grandchildren in such an understanding way.  He instinctively knew what children needed and was always there to give it – just so sensitive and caring (thoughtful too)

From Judy Crompton
Rudy was one of the kindest people I’ve known.  He was always ready to help anyone.  Rudy was a great guy; he was a great friend, grandfather and was very genuine.  I will miss him a lot.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lorraine Romano

Lorraine Marie "Rainy" Romano, 52, Born July 20, 1959 in Quincy, Massachusetts and lived in Orlando, FL for the latter part of her life, peacefully made her journey to heaven on June 16, 2012 while surrounded by her loving family and in the care of Cornerstone Hospice.

 Lorraine is the daughter to the late Lucille Pimentel and the late Edward Burns. She was married to Anthony Romano. Lorraine is a devoted Mother to her daughter, Aleshia O'Hara and her son, Daniel Romano. She is a passionate Grandmother to Katlyn O'Hara, Kristina O'Hara, Lucas Romano and Izabella Romano. Loving Sister of Katherine Pina, Geraldine Kroun, Bruce Purves, Theresa Burns, Matthew Burns and the late Lawrence Purves. Mother in law to William O'Hara, Sister in law to Maria Romano-Falcaino and Steven Romano. Loving Aunt to Hassie Royster, Patrick Royster, Sherry Burns, Kelly Holshek, Brian Holshek, Panya Kroun, Stevie Romano, Nicholas Romano, Nina Tarr, Matthew Tarr and Mallory Tarr. Lorraine had many great nieces, nephews and other family members.

Lorraine was always all about her family, children and grandchildren. She loved them fiercely. She was a strong force in her family and will be forever in the hearts of her family and friends. Lorraine had many dear friends who have always called her Rainy. Lorraine enjoyed being creative. She was involved deeply in scrap booking and other arts and crafts. She appreciated various kinds of music and going to the beach. Lorraine enjoyed sitting outside listening to the birds and watching sunsets.

 Lorraine had battled cancer for 11 years. She always read the bible and loved collecting angels and always believed that angels were watching over us and now she will finally be one of those angels.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hendra Kartadinata Khoe

After being diagnosed in April 2010 with a serious illness, Hendra passed away on April 6th, 2012.

It was a long two years of battling against the disease with Chinese herbal medicine only to watch his condition deteriorate. Although his family and friends feel a great sadness over his loss, he is now at peace. He is rejoicing, free, and happy in heaven.

Born in Cibadak, West Java, Indonesia, Hendra was the third and youngest child in his family.

His father passed away while Hendra was still at a very young age. Growing-up, he helped in his mother's store. In 1968, he married the love of his life, Vana Lie, and they had three children. A son in 1972, Chandra, then two girls, Suliany in 1975, and Suliana in 1978. Hendra immigrated to the United States, following Vana, and eventually the whole family.

In Indonesia, everywhere he went, Hendra rode a scooter. It was older than his children, and he kept in until the day he came to the Untied States. He loved playing jokes to his wife, just to make her smile if anything was wrong or troubling her. He enjoyed following world politics, loved dancing and singing, and entertaining small children. His grandson, Kaiden, enjoyed the presence of his grandfather because of his wonderful nature.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Henry Wellington "Keung" Kong

August 27, 1946 - February 18, 2012

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Henry Kong was the first child of David and Edna Kong. Losing his father at an early age, he spent his youth working in his mother's grocery store along with his younger brother Eddie and sister Eliza. After helping customers and completing deliveries, the high point of his day came afterward when he could chug two bottles of soda or find a quiet spot to read comic books.

After graduating from St. George's College, he started a small business with his best friend Courtney showing movies. In between traveling across the island to show the films, he loved to spend his evenings going to house parties, blossoming his love of music from the 50's and 60's.

He married his first wife Rose in 1976 and they had their first child Juliette the same year. Two years after that, they moved to the United States in pursuit of better opportunities.
They eventually settled in Orlando, FL where he exercised his love for computers and electronics, working as a computer operator at The First F.A. It was also in Orlando where he had his second daughter Janet and son Jason. While he taught them valuable life lessons, he also derived great joy taking them to the library on the weekends, going to fairs, putting together puzzles, watching movies, and [poorly] playing the Nintendo version of Jaws.

In 1995 he met the love of his life Mary and in 1999 they were married in Las Vegas, Nevada. They enjoyed traveling together and visited Grand Cayman, Michigan, Vermont, Canada, Washington State and took a cruise. In 2004, Henry and his wife decided to open their home and become foster parents. They eventually adopted three children and became guardians for two other.

In July, 2008 he was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. He underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Although this was a very difficult time for Henry he never complained and endured stoically, as was his nature. He retired shortly after his treatment and bought a house in Georgia with the plans of moving there when his health improved. During his time at home, his wife and kids enjoyed his cooking (often telling him that he should open a restaurant), watching movies with him and listening to his corny jokes. He was also the only living person to play every single possible combination of FreeCell.

On February 18, 2012, he passed away from complications caused by congestive heart failure. He was surrounded by his wife and kids.

Likes: Sleep, Soup, Wii Bowling, The Drifters, Talk Radio, Action Movies, Politics, Cooking, Singing, FreeCell, Saying "Do what?", Tea, Mahjong, Pepsi, and Badminton.

Dislikes: Any news channel that isn't Fox News, Anything too salty, a TV on low volume, throwing anything away, and any dairy products except a Frosty.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

June Eleanor Slaton

June E. Swift Slaton, 92, of Winter Park, died early on the morning of November 19th, 2011. Services will be private.

June is predeceased by her late husband, Col. Duke Slaton (USMC), and her daughter, Cynthia W. Slaton. Her survivors include son, Col. Jim Slaton (USAF) and his wife Patty, son, Tim Slaton, granddaughters, Tracy Crosson and Tricia Williams, and great-grandchildren Jake, Zane, Drew, Ella, and Jack.

June Eleanor Swift was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota on June 23rd, 1919 to James and Vera Zoe Swift. Her father was an auctioneer and automobile salesman. Growing up through the Depression, June’s family moved around, following employment opportunities for her father. They eventually settled in Florida.

After graduating from St. Petersburg High School, June worked in various secretarial positions. She met Marine Corps pilot Lt. Duke Slaton when he returned from the Pacific War Theater in 1945. They were married that same year on November 16th. Together, they had two sons and a daughter.

As a military wife, June held the family together through numerous military transfers and her husband’s deployments. As part of the “Greatest Generation”, she experienced the Depression as a child, World War II as a young adult supporting the Country’s efforts at home, and the Korean and Viet Nam wars as a mother and the wife of a deployed combat pilot.

Even though frail in body, she was always a light-hearted soul. She could often be caught whistling or humming a favorite tune as she went about duties around the house.
She was a soft touch, and freely shared her resources with many charities.

Many people loved her during her long lifetime. She will be missed.

Kenneth Owen Bartley Sr.

My dad, Ken Bartley, passed away unexpectedly on Friday evening at 5:05 p.m. Although his passing was a surprise, it was also a blessing. He was diagnosed with alcohol related dementia in 2008. Continuing to smoke, while already having COPD, further contributed to his dementia due to low oxygen levels. The frail, confused, old man who died wasn't even a shadow of my father. For those that knew and loved him, had they the opportunity to see him in the months prior to his death, would be glad for him that he's gone. He is at peace now, restored.

During his life, Ken was a lineman for Ohio Power and Light, a salesman of material handling equipment, a licensed minister who performed marriages and baptisms, and many, many more things to many people. He found sobriety with the friends of Bill W. in the early 1990's, and devoted the rest of his life to attending meetings, speaking, and helping others. AA was his life, his family, and his purpose. Many will miss his stories, his observations, and his jokes.
He was a Mason, a member of the Scottish Rite, and a Shriner, although those organizational memberships left his priority when he stopped drinking alcohol. And, as a young man, he served in the US Army, and attended Potomac State College prior to getting a Bachelor's degree in business at West Liberty State University.

When my children were born, Ken became PeePaw. He worshiped his grand children, Jose, Eleana, and Isabel. The photo is of PeePaw, giving it the ol' college try while Jose was in his skateboarding years!

He was married three times, to my mother for 22 years, briefly to a lady named Donna, then to the love of his life, Paula. She predeceased him in 2006. They lived for each other, and he was broken after she passed. Now, they are again united. And knowing them, they are holding hands and watching the grandkids from a comfy cloud in heaven!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

William Hayden Sparks

Birth: July 27, 1917 – Death: November 17, 2011

Hayden Sparks was a resident of Maitland, Florida, an artist, architect/builder in South/Central Florida and the Bahamas. A proud Veteran of WW2, ‘Captain’ Hayden Sparks was a decorated fighter pilot. He was a driven naturalist, sportsman, and loved family man.

Hayden is predeceased by his beloved wife, Gerry Sparks, a renowned Orlando-area artist, and daughter, Carol Petalas, also a local Orlando artist. He is survived by his son, Glenn Hayden Sparks, also a builder from Longwood, Florida, and seven grandchildren with ten great-grandchildren.

A public memorial service will be held on November 26th at 1pm at the Casselberry American Legion at 2706 Wells Avenue. The service is being arranged by the family.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Richard L. Shively

In Miamisburg, Ohio, there is a little red dachshund named Mickey with a broken heart. During the last week of Dick’s life, Mickey never left his side. He went without food and water, and watched the “daddy person” take his last breaths. Ever faithful, he stayed by him until the very end. It’s funny how our pets assume the personalities of their owners. Because “ever faithful” is an excellent choice of words to describe our beloved, departed Dick.

An ever faithful husband, Dick went to heaven first to prepare a place for his wife, June. She says that someday, when it is her time, she will now not be afraid. They met at a Christmas party in December of 1995 when Dick pretended to be Santa (with his white beard) just to be able to ask June what she wanted for Christmas. Ever faithful, when June moved to Florida to be close to her firstborn grandchild, Jose, Dick followed right after her. They married there and welcomed four more grandchildren during their years in Orlando, Eleana, Renae, Isabel, and Bailey. Dick and June’s song was Keeper of the Stars by Tracy Byrd. You can watch the song videos by clicking song titles on this page.

Ever faithful, as a father, Dick was never more proud than when his daughter, Anne, graduated from college, or when he walked her down the aisle into the arms of her husband, Rob. His step-children, Ken and Sarah, were welcome additions to his family instead of ever being just his “wife’s kids”. Before he passed, Sarah was able to tell him that the Brad Paisley song He Didn’t Have to Be always reminded her of him.

The ever faithful grandfather, Dick would dote and worry after his grandkids, but he never let them know. For them, he was always strong, and wise, and full of love and fun times. He taught his grandson how to fish, and the girls how to not be afraid of icky things like bugs and blue crabs. He shared the gift of patience, with them all, saying things like “slow down now”, or asking “what’s the rush?” Most of all, he made a point to share his faith with them. None of them will ever wonder what his spiritual beliefs were.

Dick was a son, a brother, a brother in law, an uncle, a great friend, and an ever faithful servant to his fellow man. He always offered help to anyone in need. He loved his family, his friends, and his lord, Jesus Christ. Ever faithful, he told death to wait for his sister, Ruth, and her husband, Ogie, to arrive from Florida to say good-bye - after he had already had the opportunity to do so with his mother, Dorothy, his niece, Jan, and her husband, Mike, his nephew, Jimmy, and his friend and pastor, Brad.

On Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 at 3:10 p.m. our ever faithful Dick took his last breaths with his family by his side. Then a little red dachshund named Mickey nudged his hand to try and revive him before he really accepted that Dick was gone. Mickey jumped off of the bed, and has stayed by June’s side ever since, being ever faithful, just like the “daddy person” would have wanted.

We love you Dick! We will see you on the other side! And, say hello for us to the keeper of the stars!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nicholas Russo

July 2, 1937 - August 22, 2011

“If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me?” from Freebird by Lynard Skynard.

Unlike the words to one of his favorite songs above, none of us has to question whether or not we will remember Nick. He was easy going, and had a knack for making everyone feel comfortable. His smile was infectious, and he could always make you laugh. Nick was one of those guys that made friends with everyone, everywhere he went. Even with Yankees fans!

Nick loved Florida, and seven years ago convinced Kathy to move there with him. Before they took-up residence in Florida it had been his favorite place to vacation. He also fulfilled a long time dream of working at Disney. He was a character attendant for four years and worked there until just a few months before he passed. At home in Poinciana, Florida, Nick loved the natural beauty and animals that shared the Solivita community – eagles, owls, sand cranes, wild turkey, deer, even tree frogs and lizards. But the snakes and alligators? He even learned to respect them.

At home, Nick was a great cook. His hoagies rivaled the best you can get in Philadelphia. And his bean soup, and cole slaw weren’t so bad either! Although one of his favorite restaurants was Manny’s, his own kitchen was almost as good.

Nick leaves behind many who will miss him and love him. His wife, Kathy, daughters Monica and Tina, grandchildren Justin, Grace, and Abby, a sister, Anna Marie, a brother, Jack, his best friends Perry and Emmett, who he knew from grade school, his Solivita family and all the friends he made in real estate in his over 30 years in business. If nothing else, it can be said that he was loved.

After Glow

I’d like the memory of me
to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an after glow
of smiles when life is done,
I’d like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing
times and bright and
summer days.
I’d like the tears of those who
grieve, to dry before the sun,
Of happy memories that I leave
When life is done.

~Helen Lowrie Marshall

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

James Clayton Schooley

April 1934 – August 2011

Remembering the love of my life by Cecelia R. Schooley.

You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. My husband, Jim, had a magnificent sense of humor. Full of wit, he loved to tell poems, and sing to me, especially “You are my Sunshine”. He would always say “thanks for making supper” after dinner because he never took me for granted. And even if I thanked him for taking me out to lunch, he would reply with “thanks for thanking me”.

When Jim was eight or nine, while attending the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Philadelphia, he was sled riding in the winter when he hit a tree and broke his wrist. When his supervisor asked him why he hit the tree? Jim replied simply that the tree wouldn’t move! As a boy, he also loved comic books such as Captain Marvel and Superman. Disappointed that nothing happened if he went into the closet and screamed “Shazam!”, he tied a towel around his neck and tried to fly like Superman. Luckily, his sister Grace grabbed him before he could jump out of the window.
In 1967, Jim directed a play named “Variety Show” for the Clerc Literary Association at All Soul’s Church in Philadelphia. Although professionally, Jim was a printer, he also taught American Sign Language for many years. He was so proud that three of his students because Certified ASL Interpreters.

Our love story…

When I was ten, I had a crush on Jim because he always had junk in his pockets when the school supervisor made him empty them. But, even though he liked me, Jim said I was too tall for him. When we were in Wissinoming Hall for high school, I often hoped he would be my boyfriend but no. He went on to marry another girl, and I was heartsick.
Then in 1970, I went to the Center City for the Deaf and met many friends including Jim’s sister, Grace. She asked me to come to a party the next week. Jim said, “I hope you do come”. The party was on May 21st, it was a family party, but Jim’s wife and baby were not in attendance. I asked where they were, but Jim just walked away. Later, I found out that they were separated - so I apologized to him because I hadn’t known when I asked. He said it was okay, and we talked for hours and hours, then he asked me out.

I was so excited! From that day in May 1970, we stuck together. For 41 years, Jim was so good to me. And, my honor was making him happy.

Something that Jim and I always did throughout our time together was throw water on each other, of course, for fun. A favorite memory I have of my husband is when we had interpreters at our house. Jim walked into the kitchen, filled a glass of water, then came over and threw it at me. It was shocking for both myself and the interpreters but we all laughed. Another favorite is me, throwing ice cold water on him over the shower curtain, while he was taking a hot shower. He would scream in the corner while I ran for my life!

It is those memories, and more, that let me smile today when I think of the love of my life. Jim, you are my sunshine. My only sunshine.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Larry Richard Helme

Born February 14, 1951, and passed July 16, 2011.

Beloved son of Edward and Janet Helme who predeceased him.

Loving brother to Susan Evans, Tom Helme, and Carol Neff.

Larry’s passion was his music. His talent was phenomenal!

My poem to you Larry. Love and miss you, Carol