Written By: Tam and Henry Dosch, Stefanie’s Niece and Nephew
What can we say about Steffie??? We love her, she’s been an inspiration to all of us and a woman who was way ahead of her time! It’s hard to believe all the things she’s seen and done in her 103 years of a lifetime – we should all live such wonderful lives!
Steffie has always been positive and optimistic – relatively easy going and loved to entertain and be social throughout her lifetime! People would say that she would “command a room” whenever she entered!
Steffie was born in Krems, Austria and traveled here to the USA with her parents as a one year old. She’s the eldest of three children and her sister Alice is nearly 91 years old! They came to NY and settled in Long Island. Steffie married out of high school, but sadly her husband died shortly after they married in an industrial accident – forcing Steffie to work for The War Department. Steffie was very successful in her role at The War Department and lived in Philadelphia for a period of time. Shortly thereafter, in Long Island again, she soon found her 2nd husband, Dick Secor.
Steffie and Dick married after WWII. Dick was a sales associate for an oil burner manufacturer after the war and the United States was his territory. Together they completed two circuits of the continental USA over 1948 – 1949, visiting 47 out of the then 48 states in America via prop plane; Dick had learned to fly a plane while in England during WWII. Steffie would calculate the amount of gas that they needed for the plane for each trip and helped with navigation as her husband piloted the plane to their next destination. Steffie had many stories of all their interesting travel experiences and socializing that they did across country especially since not too many people traveled so extensively like that during that time period. What a terrific way to see the states – traveling with your husband!
Steffie and Dick lived for many years in Connecticut and eventually they became “snowbirds” heading South for the winters to Florida. They loved their neighbors and friends and did a lot of entertaining, initially in the house she designed and they built not long after they were married in West Harford and then in what became their home in Old Saybrook, CT.
Henry, her nephew, has many fond memories of family trips as a child to Old Saybrook, CT. Aunt Stef would set up scavenger hunts for trinkets when he and his family would visit for summer vacations. They would spend time at the town beach, boating on the Connecticut River and sightseeing – wonderful summer activities and fond family memories!
Even as they aged Steffie and Dick did extensive traveling. They actually traveled to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and even took a river boat cruise down the Amazon River at the age of 70! The two had a very adventuresome life, a love of travel and new experiences!
Steffie loved to garden – she mostly grew vegetables, but also loved her “money tree” and flowers! She enjoyed tag sales (both going to them and putting them on), loved a good bargain and boating on the CT River! They had a few cats during their time together – Tiger Lily, a calico cat, was one of her favorites, who also traveled with them to Florida for the winters! Steffie had a knack for decorating, made lots of fresh summertime strawberry preserves and her “cheat” was that she loved candy & chocolate and always wanted dessert BEFORE Dinner! She prided herself as being a well-dressed woman, she and her husband Dick were always dressed handsomely wherever they went!
One thing Steffie always told Henry’s wife Tam, as she entered the family, is that “the essence of life is change” and she’s right, life is always changing and you need to change with it!
Happy 103rd Birthday Aunt Steffie – we love you!!!