Feb. 23, 2012 Tampa Hillsborough County Florida, USA
Antoinette Geraldine Ficke, (Gerry), 89, of Lutz, Florida died peacefully on Thursday February 23, 2012 while in residence at Murray Manor of Tampa. Gerry was born at home in Newark, New Jersey to Joseph (Guiseppe) Coppola and Josephine (Gesamine) Puglio Coppola on December 5, 1922. She was the middle child with three older siblings, James, Larry and Connie; and three younger, Tony and the twins Grace and Marie. She graduated from grammar school but left high school to work following the death of her father when she was 16. On August 3, 1946 at the age of 23 she married a young navy man, Christian Ficke (Chris) in Newark, NJ and subsequently they moved to Dover, NJ until when in 1955 they moved to Clearwater, FL. After a short while in Clearwater they moved to Tampa where the owned and operated Jerry's Bait House on Courtney Campbell Causeway. In 1959, their only daughter Gerry Ann was born and Gerry received her high school diploma by attending night school. After selling the bait house, Gerry was a stay-at-home mom until in 1965 when Chris suffered a heart attack and it was necessary for her to work to support her husband and child. After a variety of jobs, including dish washing at the Mullet Inn and short-order cook at Rexall Drugs she hired on at Honeywell in Tampa. In 1974, the family moved to Lutz, saw her daughter married to her favorite (and only) son-in-law Timothy Michael O'Dell, and continued her employment at Honeywell; where she held several jobs but at the time of her retirement in 1985 she was a senior QA Inspector. Following retirement, her granddaughter, Jessica Morgan O'Dell, was born in 1987. She devoted her time in taking care of her and eventually a grandson, Michael James O'Dell, arrived for her to occupy her time. Grandma and Grandpa Ficke spent many joyous years keeping track of the grandkids and acting as watchdog, chauffeur, spoiler and teacher to Jessica and Michael. A life-long Catholic, Gerry attended St. Mary's Catholic Church until no longer physically able. On January 24, 2008 she lost her beloved Chris after 61 years of marriage. She remained in her home and fairly independent until July 2010, at which time she suffered a fall and was never able to return home but spent her remaining time at Murray Manor of Tampa. She is survived by her daughter, Gerry Ann O'Dell, son-in-law Timothy Michael, grandchildren, Jessica Morgan and Michael James O'Dell. As well as her older brother Larry Coppola and her two younger sisters, Grace Cicero and Marie Receinello. Gerry will be laid to rest next to her husband on Tuesday February 28, 2012 at 4:00 pm at Garden of Memories. A grave-side service only will be held. For information please call 813-973-2428. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society can be made.