Rita Sylvester Curry, also known as Malelo, passed away early Sunday morning, June 19, 2011.
She was born in Little Italy of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1917, the daughter of Anthony “Tony” Sylvester and Mary Scotto. Her grandparents Giuseppe and Maria Nicola Salvastano arrived in the United States at Ellis Island in the 1870’s.
Curry was predeceased by her mother, who died when she was 2 years old during an influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918; two husbands, Arnold Hamblet and William Curry; a sister Helene; and a brother Anthony (John) Sylvester.
She is survived by her children, Arlene Hamblet, David Curry, Leslie Curry; grandchildren Eric Grossman, Amber Spinney, Amy Spinney and David Curry; and great grandchildren Makela and Preston will miss her.
Curry’s unique early years in Ohio came between the two world wars, a time she remembered filled with friends and family. She often told stories of past days at Campbell’s beach with all of the uncles, aunts and their numerous children.
Curry came from a large talented family, which included musicians (members of The Italian Boys Band of Little Italy and the Cleveland Symphony), boxers, wrestlers, bowling champions, a notable silversmith, masons and purveyors of food and wine.
She had fond memories of her family’s celebrations, of Dago Red, prepared annually by the family winemakers, pizza from Presti’s and lemon ice in the summer. She enjoyed sharing highlights of her ethnic heritage along with stories of the Feast of the Assumption that occurs annually in Cleveland’s Little Italy; the procession and gathering of family, friends and neighbors.
After World War II, Curry left Ohio to join her husband’s family in California and worked in the music industry. After raising her family and then widowed she moved to Laguna Beach. She enjoyed meeting new friends and joined the activities at the Senior Center.
Curry was stoic, sweet, generous and always caring for others. Her wit and sense of humor affected everyone and she was certain to charm those around her. Surely her smiles and laughter enhanced her determined Italian genes to live a rich life until age 93.
A memorial service will be held in Hawaii.
James L. Rickard
James Leonard Rickard, 95, passed away at Hearthstone Manor in Woodstock, Ill., on June 14. He lived most of his life in Provo, S.D., but came to Illinois a year ago to be closer to family.
He was born Nov. 5, 1915, in Edgemont, S.D., to Harry and Elizabeth Towler
Rickard, who were homesteaders. He was a veteran of World War II and served with the 59th Ordnance Company in the U.S. Army. He retired from his job as ammunition specialist for the government in 1970. Rickard loved to build and repair things.
He and his wife, Irene, spent their winters in Laguna Beach and their summers in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Rickard regularly walked in Heisler Park and had made many friends during 35 winters he spent in Laguna Beach.
He is survived by sons Joseph Rickard (Jan) of Crystal Lake, Ill., and Noel of League City, Tex.; grandson Jerrad Rickard (Elizabeth) also of Crystal Lake, and granddaughter Jeanna Francis (Don) of Woodstock, Ill.; four great-grandchildren, and many good friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Irene Bauer; his brother Louis Rickard; and his daughter-in-law Judy Rickard.
A memorial service will be held July 22, at the Black Hills National Cemetery. Memorial contributions can be made to Hospice and Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois, 405 Lake Zurich Road, Barrington, IL 60010.