Leanore May "Lea" Vlastelica
May 25, 1928 - October 26, 2017
Saturday, November 18, 2017 1:36 PM
From Chip Kumparek:
From my earliest years I'll remember Aunt Lea and Uncle Ron coming over to play pinochle with my parents George and Joel. Then in Catholic Elementary School getting hand-me-down school shirts from Ron, Rich and Greg for both myself and my brother. Also Ron and Lea were the godparents of my sister Stacy and brother Matt.
Linda V Souva
Friday, November 10, 2017 5:31 PM
I first met “Mom” after becoming friends with Linda in High School. I was impressed by her presence and polish. Her hair was up in a French twist, tasteful earrings, a fitted dress, and heels. She would welcome you with dancing honey brown eyes and a firm-reassuring hug. Ferrying her kids and their friends for football games and other sports activities gave me the opportunity to join Linda and participate in school social functions I would not have had the opportunity to on my own. Moving on to college was an anxious time, but it was great to know I could always drop in to the Foreign Student Center, say “Hi” and her warmth and recognition would melt away the worries of the day.
Lea’s energy and guiding directives brought synergy to the diverse participants at the Foreign Student Center at San Jose State. She drew people to her with her genuine concern and optimism. She and “Dad” entertained, opened their home, the house on the hill, to the students, friends, and family; both made each individual feel welcome. I learned to dance from Lea’s father, Darce – my favorite partner by far; and to crochet potholders with Linda from her mother, Nelle.
In a stay at her San Luis Obispo home, Lea and Stan were good company and presented an interesting and loving dynamic between the two of them. She loved her small rose garden that Stan tended for her, the clean air and the impressive ocean views.
I was saddened when I heard about the circumstance by which Lea was unable to travel to bid Stan “good-bye” in Canada when his time came. Her heart ached, and she openly shared the tears of her loss. This touched me deeply.
It was a good that Mom moved into Rich’s home in Gilroy. Rich worked hard on the house to make the home as accommodating to Mom as he could. I was glad that she would not be alone.
As a young adult, I was introduced to Khalil Gibran’s “The Prophet,” a poem that looked at life and the human condition. As time passed, Lea remarked that she’d recently re-read “The Prophet” and found the words had more depth and meaning. Afterward I re-read the book myself – it did touch my heart and mind with new meaning. I will always remember her intellect, her adventurous spirit, and her loving heart.
Cyndi Shue (Brookings, SD)
Thursday, November 09, 2017 6:55 AM
Thank you Szafran family for your kind memories. Mom was indeed a world traveler and always with a book under an arm. Mom knew so much about life and the history of many cultures and events. Everywhere we traveled together including a very memorable trip through Europe with 4 generations of family (Grandma Nellie, Mom, Ron, Rich,and Bryan) together was a beautiful memory.
Mom treated each of us kids as if we were somehow an only child. Mom gave us lots of attention and love, held secrets with each of us (until the day she died). Mom provided the wisdom, loving, caring attitude and always there for us and often providing the insight I was missing. Mom really was a great and caring mother.
Mom, we miss you and thank you for all you've done for all of us.
Ron Vlastelica (morgan hill, CA)
Tuesday, November 07, 2017 7:16 AM
Well, there are so many wonderful memories to share about Lea. We had the pleasure of having Lea and dad (Stan ) stay at our home in London on several occasions. One of the most memorable was when Jan and I finally decided to get married. We had a wonderful outdoor wedding ceremony in our own backyard. It was very touching to have Lea with dad front and center sharing in our special day. It wouldn't have been the same without her. I know dad was beaming with pride to have Lea by his side at our home, in our backyard for this wonderful day. We had quite a rain storm after the ceremony that continued throughout the evening. Lea and dad were in the house with several of the guests, staying dry and engaging in conversations about anything and everything, which Lea was especially good at. She kept many of the guests enthralled with her humorous stories, comments and opinions about all subjects. Lea had the ability to share her thoughts, without offending and with a smile. Many of our friends and guests loved conversing with Lea that night, I know because they told me so.
Dad and Lea had a Yin and Yang relationship, the best ever. Having Lea here sharing our special day with dad made it that much more special and certainly memorable. Lea was more than just dad's life partner, she was a stepmother too!! She will be greatly missed by her Canadian family.
Rest easy Lea, for all Eternity.
Rafal and Jan Szafran (London, Ontario. Canada)
Monday, November 06, 2017 4:02 PM
I feel like storm tossed wreckage. For so long I believed the false summer breezes that whispered that she would always be there, willing to listen and then offering love and wisdom. Sailed along- knowing there was she was there, when suddenly storm-tossed dark clouds formed, our family's ship was floundering and I could only cry, "No." The wind continued to grow, sometimes tossing angry should-have-done thoughts, other times warm caressing memories kissed tear-stained cheeks, and still-life photos, memory clips shining/flickering like stars peeking through ragged clouds. Then came the typhoon of her death, with crashing waves of grief. Pounded, swirled here and there, left lying on the broken reef….a writing teacher’s craft with words smashed beyond recognition. Surrounded by the words and phrases of two languages, unable to find the perfect ones that Mom deserves to have surrounding her like floral sweet-smelling marmars (leis).
Mom had come to Chuuk three different times and been a part of island life. Though not her preferred lifestyle, she accommodated, and followed the training she had given us by trying the local foods made in her and Dad’s ( and later Stan’s) honor. It was wondrous to see my two families fall in love with each other, though the elders shared no common language. Here was proof that love transcends language and culture. One of Mom’s statements at the end of her first visit, “Now I don’t have to worry about you because I know they (Sim’s family) will care for you,” and one undocumented picture –Mom, Dad, Tar, Umiko (my Moms and Dads) sitting at the airport trying not to cry at the parting to come will remain with me always.
Mom was a huge supporter of my efforts at building a library at Chuuk High School. She sent her books, Grandpa Darce’s books and her valuable collection of National Geographic magazines that we had grown up reading. Her donations of National Geographic magazines lured many a reluctant reader into wanting to learn and even beginning to love reading. Our shared love of science fiction and fantasy led to probably the largest library collection of sci-fi and fantasy in the islands; infecting students who stumbled into that area by mistake and stayed to gaze into far-off worlds. Thank you, Mom.
Though few will believe it, I most admired Mom’s ability to make others feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts, feelings, and problems, and her willingness to listen and then offer sage advice. Though as a teen I could not do this myself, I was actually a little jealous that so many of our contemporaries could and did. Luckily, l learned to open up a bit as I grew older and we did share more. Now if someone needs me to lend a ear, I flash back and try to be as good a listener as Mom always was. When asked for advice, I wing a prayer towards Mom for help and then think twice before saying anything. Thank you, Mom, for in some slight way instilling this quality in me. Remain over my shoulder, whispering wisdom in my ear.
Love does cross oceans, Moms somehow always know. I can not recall the number of times a little surprise box would come just when I was feeling low, a box sent anywhere from two weeks to a month before I ran into one of life’s little bumps. When asked how she knew before anything was even wrong, Mom shrugged and just said she had a “feeling.” Psychic, or just being a supermom, we never knew, but perhaps it was just another of Mom’s special abilities.
Smile down on us all. Thank you for everything you've done throughout your life.
Lynn Sipenuk (Sapore, Fefan, FM)
Monday, November 06, 2017 10:09 AM
We know Lea knew how much we appreciated her love and care for Stan. But, we also have wonderful memories of Lea. After our first meeting when we were a bit shocked by the news that Stan was moving to California, news from them was always interesting. We were amazed by their travels.... and have frig magnets from many of the places they visited: from Hawaii to the Danube, and from Africa to Alaska. They even got to Poland and Italy in the process of allowing Stan to deal with some difficult issues from his past.
We had some wonderful visits to California and Lea's hospitality both in San Jose and San Luis Obispo helped make those trips so memorable.
Her visits to Canada were also memorable. Always with a novel in hand she'd read on our deck when they were here in the summer. And considering how much she didn't care for the cold, she even visited in the winter, and on a drive to London in a snow storm asked “is this a blizzard yet?” She was very brave.
We will miss her and will treasure the memories......
love, Liz and Bill Buddle
(Stan's daughter and son-in-law)
Elizabeth Buddle (Lakefield, Canada)
Sunday, November 05, 2017 11:50 AM
As I've sat here for the last few days contemplating about your news of Lea's passing , I can't help but smile when I think of your Mom.....such a remarkable woman!....what a gutsy gal she was......and an inspiration to us all.....so intelligent.....a good listener....empathetic.....when I needed a level-headed opinion about something I knew I could always count on her.....and a terrific sense of humor too...I will miss our telephone conversations!.....(even if they were recently about Trump!).....but always entertaining for sure.....
Kiki Szafran (loving daughter of Stan Szafran)
Friday, November 03, 2017 10:11 PM
There aren't adequate words to describe how blessed we were to have the best parents.
Mom and Dad set the benchmark high. They serve as role models in our homes, as parents, friends, professionals and living to the values of kindness, integrity, commitment and caring.
Thanks mom, for the endless source of love and support
Linda V Souva