Loretta Hellen Szewczyk

Loretta Helen Szewczyk, nee Buback, 93, of Belleville, IL, born July 20, 1918, in St. Louis, died Sunday, September 11, 2011, peacefully in her sleep at the home of her daughter in Plant City, Florida.

Loretta Szewczyk was a member of Holy Childhood Church and the St. Clair Medical Society Women’s Auxiliary, and past member of several other organizations. Loretta was born in St. Louis near the Soulard area and attended Roosevelt High School. She earned her degree in nursing at St. Mary’s School of Nursing in East St. Louis. She practiced as a registered nurse in obstetrics for many years. By means of her nursing experience, she played a key role as an informal advisor to her husband, Dr. Ted Szewczyk, in his successful mission to discover the cause of retrolental fibroplasia, a disease that had blinded thousands of premature babies in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1960, she was elected president of the St. Clair County Medical Society Women’s Auxiliary. In the mid1960’s, with the help of her father-in law, Stanley, she established “The Gourmet Food Shop” in East St. Louis. The establishment became a popular Metro East deli, carrying unique food items from around the world in addition to Loretta’s home baked goods. She was a gourmet-style cook and consistently graced the tables of her home with the best food creations imaginable. She loved music and enjoyed playing the organ and piano. Mostly, she loved being with her family and friends. She had an elevating and charming personality and inspired her family and friends by her endless optimism and generosity.

She was preceded in death by her:

  • Husband: Dr. Thaddeus Szewczyk
  • Parents: Robert and Marie, nee Nenninger, Buback
  • Son: Dennis J. Szewczyk
  • Sister: Marian V. Porter
  • Granddaughter: Angela Shovlin

Surviving are her:

  • Children
    • Stephen Szewczyk (Kathy) of Swansea, Illinois
    • Karen Cahill of Godfrey, Illinois
    • Elaine Lawrence (Larry) of Plant City, Florida
  • Daughter-in-law: Coral Szewczyk, of Canyon Lake, Texas
  • Grandchildren
    • Robert Szewczyk (Christina)
    • Steve Szewczyk
    • Chris Szewczyk
    • Erica Szewczyk
    • Neal Szewczyk
    • Laura Szewczyk
    • Thomas Cahill
    • Jennifer Cahill
    • Meagan Cahill
    • Natalie Cahill
    • Michael Lawrence (Anita)
    • Matthew Lawrence (Shannon)
    • Michelle Hively (Garland)
  • Great-grandchildren
    • Christian Cahill Newsome
    • Jessica and Michael Lawrence
    • Matthew, Tommy, Christian, and Jacob Hively
  • Step-great-grandchild Nick Gutierrez
  • Great-grandchild on the way
  • Many nieces, nephews and other extended family and friends.

Memorials: Memorials may be made to Lifepath Hospice or St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Belleville, Illinois. Condolences may be expressed online at www.kurrusfh.com

Visitation: Friends may call from 9:00 - 10:45 a.m., Saturday, September 17, 2011, at the Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL.

Funeral: A funeral procession will leave from Kurrus Funeral Home in Belleville, IL at 10:45 a.m., Saturday, September 17, 2011 for a 11:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Belleville, Ill., with Father Clyde Grogan and Father Matthew Elie officiating. Interment will follow at Mount Carmel Cemetery, Belleville, IL.

Condolences left for Loretta Hellen Szewczyk:

    We are so saddened to hear of your loss. We are coming to the end of an era of physicians & their wives who were extremely dedicated, hard-working, and beloved. Try as I might, I can never keep up wih the hours Drs Ted & my dad kept nor the hours that Mrs. Sczewczyk & my mom spent keeping our homes together. She will be sadly missed by those who were fortunate enough to know her.

    Michele [Lehr], Carl, & Eric Neblock troy mo 63379