--> Florence A. Schweizer Obituary

Florence A. Schweizer
April 8, 1915 - May 12, 2014
Florence A. Schweizer Photo spacer.gif Schweizer, Florence Sullivan 04/08/1915 ~ 05/12/2014 CARDIFF BY THE SEA

Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, great- grandmother, and friend. Florence, age 99, passed away peacefully at her home of 46 years in Cardiff by the Sea on May 12, 2014.

Florence, of strong Irish heritage, was born to William and Catherine Sullivan (of Cork and Galway, Ireland) in Miles City, Montana. She attended the Ursuline Convent there and was a 1932 graduate of Custer County High School. A few of her childhood memories of Miles City were swimming in the Yellowstone River, hiking, and joyful days of reading - she remained a faithful supporter of the library!

In 1922, her older sister Mary sent Florence a train ticket to join her in San Diego, CA, and soon she was beginning a new life with her sister. She quickly put her bookkeeping skills to work and joined her sister at one of the local waterfront fish companies. During this time, Florence met the love of her life, Earl Schweizer, a Navy man whose parents were the proprietors of the Harbor Café at the foot of Broadway.

On July 4, 1936, Florence and Earl were married at St. Patrick's Rectory, a union which was to last 72 years. In 1940, Earl was transferred to the Philippines for duty, and Florence and their son Earle Jr. accompanied him. Their second son George was born there in 1940. America, sensing world events, sent home the American Navy families a year before Pearl Harbor. Thus Florence began a five- year separation from her beloved Earl. Upon return to America, her sister Mary helped her find a cottage in Belmont Shore (Long Beach) to await Earl's return. On December 7, 194l, Florence's life changed when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Shortly thereafter, the Japanese forces reached the Philippine Islands. Knowing her beloved husband was at risk, Florence faced the fear and loneliness of a young woman with 2 small boys and no knowledge of her husband's fate. Finally, the Secretary of War contacted her with the news that Earl was captured at Corregidor where he remained a prisoner of war throughout WWII.

Demonstrating the courage and faith of an Irish woman, Florence persevered with the help of her loving sister Mary and family. In April 1945, her many prayers were answered when Earl was repatriated with the many other American POWs. In 1946, Florence gave birth to their 3rd child, Kathleen.

From 1945-1969, Florence, Earl, and their 3 children had military moves to Washington, D.C., Great Lakes, Illinois, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Kodiak Island, Alaska, and finally back to San Diego.

Serendipitously, Earl and Florence had purchased property in Cardiff by the Sea in the late 1930s where they later built a home that would be their last "duty station." In 1969, they moved into their home and began their 41+ year relationship with St. John's Catholic Parish.

Florence enjoyed her years of employment with the US Forest Service in San Diego. After retirement, Florence and Earl enjoyed traveling, but her true joy was found in spending time with her children, her grands, greats, family and friends. Florence and Earl were Friday night fixtures at Anthony's Fish Grotto for over 4 decades where they shared their table with a growing family, always celebrating family milestones there. At St. John's, Florence faithfully worked with her dear friend Marcella at the parish Thrift Shop for 20 years. Florence remained an unfailing supporter of the Altar Society, the Parish Building Fund, the Deanery, the monthly Senior Luncheons, and "all things St. John's."

As much as we will miss our Mom, we are grateful for her 99 years and our many happy family gatherings. She will be remembered for deep devotion to her faith and love of family. Her humility, quiet strength, and spirit of determination served as a role model to her family and friends.

Florence leaves behind 2 children: George (Nancy), a former Navy pilot, Sammamish, WA; her daughter Kathleen, wife of RADM Ray Smith, USN (Ret), Coronado, CA; 10 grandchildren, and 27 great-grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews.

Florence was predeceased by her oldest son Earle, CAPT, USN (Ret), married to Marge of Pt. Loma. A funeral Mass will be held Friday, May 23, 10:00 a.m. at St. John's Church, 1001 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas, CA, followed by the burial at 2:30 p.m., El Camino Memorial Park, 5600 Carroll Canyon Rd., San Diego, 92121.

The family extends special thanks to their dear neighbors and friends for the kindness and loving care extended to Florence. We especially thank her caregiver (companion), June Patterson, for her many years of devotion and care, and more recent caregivers Eileen, Shondra, Cristine, and Coralyn from Home Care Assistance - all of whom provided attentive, loving care to Florence in recent months. We appreciate the care of Vitas Hospice during the last week of Mom's life. Donations may be sent to St. Vincent de Paul Society, c/o St. John's Church, 1001 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas, CA 92024, the USO, or the SD Humane Society.

Published in U-T San Diego on May 18, 2014.
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Florence A. Schweizer joined NARFE on 5-1-1979. She became an Honorary NARFE member on 10-1-2005 and was a member of the Encinitas Chapter 456 at the time of her death. .