Cecilia M. Kitska unexpectedly passed away March 17, 2023 at home with her daughter at her side. She loved her family, home and friends beyond measure, including her furry feline companions Missy and Chloe.
All who knew her remember her for her strong faith, unconquerable spirit and willingness to help anyone with any need or problem. Despite her small stature, she walked as a giant among those who knew her. Despite health challenges, she never doubted God’s grace and found comfort in her faith and the love of family and friends. Many will truly miss her warm smile and genuine humanity. As Emily Dickinson wrote, “The courage that my mother had /Went with her, and is with her still. . . ,” is beyond any earthly “treasure.” Indeed, her mother’s courage, as was Cecilia’s, was beyond earthly value as she learned to grow and meet the demands of her life. That example of courage is the legacy she has left for family and friends to admire and perhaps follow. It outweighs any value of material possessions left behind.
Cecilia, proudly born of immigrant parents from Alsace on July 8, 1923, was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, Joseph D. Kitska in 2002. For her remaining 21 years of life, she lived with her daughter Susan in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. Nearby in Akron, her first-born son Jerome, his wife Sheila and cherished grandson Joseph expanded the family. Her second-born son David ironically lives not far from her husband’s birthplace of Pittsburgh, PA. Her sisters Rita Hausman (Paul) of Cuyahoga Falls, OH and Helen Kuharski (John) of Tulsa, OK preceded her in death as well. She was the last of her generation.
Her family’s story in this country began in the early 1900’s. Her her father Alois Allemann immigrated from Allenschweiler in 1913 on the ship “Rochambeau” at the age of 17. Eventually three brothers followed, and as they all worked and saved money, their parents and sister arrived to live in the home built by the sons. Alois pursued a career in administration and secured his lifelong work as superintendent for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. His contributions were many and appreciated as E.J. Thomas would sometimes send a car for him, requiring his presence on a holiday. His brothers remained in the construction trades. They and their sons spoke of helping in the construction of a new school in Cuyahoga Falls. At the time, it was called Harvey Bolich Junior High School.
In 1918 Alois Allemann married Matilda J. Sanner, daughter of Josef and Elisabeth. The Sanners had arrived at Ellis Island on the ship “”La Touraine” from Isenheim with two other daughters in tow, Anne and Martha, in 1906. The family settled in the Middlebury Community and eventually, as was common, grandparents followed. The first-generation American born to Alois and Matilda was Rita, whose siblings Helen and Cecilia completed the family.
Hard working and loyal to her country, a 1941 graduate from Garfield High School, Cecilia surrendered her office skills, typewriter and bookkeeping ledgers for a position in Defense Plant B at Firestone Tire and Rubber in Akron, OH in 1942. There she worked a drill press and lathe until the end of World War II when the plant closed. From there, she moved on to Freitag Machine Shop where her future husband, Joseph D. Kitska also worked.They married in June 1944 and added three children to the family tree.
As founding members of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Cecilia and her husband saw all three children graduate and move on to high school. It was their children’s generation as well as that of her sister Helen who brought college degrees to the fold, the dream of many immigrant families. Sacrifice and encouragement, especially on Cecilia’s part, helped make that happen for her children.
Those children Susan A. Kitska, Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Jerome G. Kitska (Sheila), Akron, OH; and David J. Kitska, Bethel Park, PA mourn her passing as do her grandson Joseph E. Kitska, Akron, OH; niece Karen Karey (Steven), Tulsa, OK; niece Kathy Witaschek, Tulsa, OK; niece-in-law Ellen Prybuto (Paul A. Hausman), Cuyahoga Falls, OH; and chosen family members Thomas and Cathy Hammonds, Stow, OH; and Tim Miller (Peggy Hammonds Miller, deceased), McKinney, TX.
Recent family deaths of niece, teacher and author Janice M. Kuahrski, Tulsa, OK; and nephew, Paul A. Hausman ( Ellen Prybuto), Cuyahoga Falls, OH; brought her sorrow. May they all now rejoice in God’s glory together.
In lieu of flowers, Cecilia asked to be remembered by calling or visiting shut-ins, doing a favor for a neighbor, volunteering for a charity, complimenting a friend or co-worker for a job well done or taking the hand of a precious child for a walk or story time. For those wishing to make monetary donations, she suggested they consider their local SPCA, regional food bank, Ronald McDonald House, Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude Children’s Research Center or Haven of Rest. Of course, any similar non-profit suggested above would be in keeping with her desires.
Also per Cecilia’s request, there are no calling hours. She will be buried from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Wednesday, March 22 and entombed next to her husband at Northlawn Cemetery in Peninsula, OH. Please remember her family in your prayers.
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