“Ego Amo Te” (Latin for I Love You). That’s what Stella Violet Birkett and her 4-year-old great-granddaughter Macie said to each other daily. They will do it no more as Stella passed away peacefully at age 93 on Nov. 19, 2019, at her home in Kearny, AZ. Her son Glenn would say she “shuffled off this mortal coil.” He is a swimmer in Flagstaff.
Stella’s long, productive, and happy life began in Kenosha, Wisconsin on July 1, 1926. She was the daughter of Stanley Naidicz, a Polish immigrant, and his wife Francis. She worked her way through high school waitressing at Frank’s Diner in Kenosha. She worked most of her life doing jobs in San Francisco, CA. Stella owned a hardware store in Sierra Vista, AZ, stocking prophylactics at the post exchange on Fort Huachuca. She was also the “Sears Lady” in San Manuel, AZ and even toiling as a “greeter” at the grand opening of Norm’s Market in Kearny, AZ, where her favorite daughter, Mary, is the manager. She also left her mark on Columbus, OH.
In 1951 she married the love of her life, Berle Birkett. He was a Navy veteran and they enjoyed attending the reunions of the world renowned U.S.S. DeGrasse Liberty Ship. Together they travelled throughout the USA and found out that hotels have different rules about wearing suits in their Jacuzzis that the Birkett’s practiced at their own hot tub at home. They had wonderful neighbors, Wiley and Lorna Warren, who always helped them and never called the cops on Berle and Stella for skinny dipping in the backyard. Stella’s last trip was to Wisconsin for her brother Bob’s (Diane) 60th wedding anniversary.
Stella was a Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader. She said the boys were easier! She had helped with the ELKS in San Manuel and Rotary Clubs in both San Manuel and Kearny. She served many years as treasurer of the sorority on San Manuel. She said the books were so messed up she was too embarrassed to give them to the next treasurer, so she just kept the job.
One time in high school she played a solo of “Black Hawk Waltz.” In her later years she loved to sing “Silent Night”, “Barney Google”, and the world famous “Oh Bowser” songs.
Stella was raised a Catholic and remained faithful her entire life. She as a member of the Infant Jesus of Prague Parish in Kearny, where everyone treated her very well, especially Miriam Avelar and her sister.
Stella is preceded in death by her husband, Berle; her parents; brother, Eddie Naidicz; sisters, Francis Beam and Sophie Warn; and her dog, Bowser.
Stella is survived by her sons, Gary (Lorraine) and Glenn; her daughter, Mary; and grandchildren, Kelly Birkett, Carrie Gardner, Marc (Jamie) Gardner, Jodie (Shane) Olsen, Laura (Jake) Taylor and James (Jessirae) Birkett. She leaves behind great-grandchildren, Macie Olsen, Daniel Taylor and Baby Birkett (due next June.) She also leaves behind her brother, Robert (Diane) Naidicz of Kenosha, WI; sister, Leona Kon of Joliet, IL; many nieces and nephews; and Gary’s dog, her buddy, Cubbie.
Thank you to all who have played a part in Stella’s long life. She would want everyone to have a smile on their face when they think of her and maybe toast her with a beverage of choice (hers was vodka.) If there’s bingo in Heaven, she will be playing. Stella distinguished herself.
Special Thanks to Aviant Hospice for their loving care.
Services for Stella will be held Monday, Nov. 25, 2019 at Infant Jesus of Prague in Kearny, AZ. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Rosary will be at 9:30 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. with a luncheon following. Interment will be at Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson, AZ at 2:30 p.m.
The family was assisted with exceptional service by Griffith Mortuary.