Julia F. "Tootie" Sopchak
Tootie was born March 10, 1922 in Milford Hospital. She was the daughter of Nicholas and Gemma Schrillo. Raised by her grandmother and living in Devon, she graduated from Milford High School in 1941.
During WWII she worked at General Electric in Bridgeport in the defense industry. After the war she met her husband while employed at Sun Oil Co. in Bridgeport. Her husband was transferred to Providence R.I., working for Sun Oil. It was there that Tootie became a mother and faced the greatest challenge of her life.
After giving birth to Michael in 1950 and John and James in 1951, her husband suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. In her own words, “I grew up fast.” Saddled with three babies and an acutely ill husband, with the help of family she returned to Connecticut.
With her husband recovered, they welcomed their fourth son William into the world, while buying a house in Milford in 1957. The house, located at 51 Fairfield St. remained their home and the center of all family activities for 50 years. She derived a lot of pleasure from the hand carved sign that greeted visitors at the side entrance, “Five Jacks and a Jill.”
Tootie was a Connecticut State employee for 24 years. She worked for the Board of Education and Services for the Blind. It was a job she truly enjoyed as it provided an opportunity for her to share her inherent grace and compassion with the clients she helped to serve.
Tootie was an active parishioner for 53 years at St. Ann’s Church. She was a member of the 50+ Club at St. Ann’s and after retirement, she remained socially engaged as a volunteer at the Milford Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Milford Senior Center, where she was President and later Vice-President of the United Senior Council. Additionally, she was a member of the Retired Professional Women’s Club of Devon as their treasurer and a member of the Red Hat Society.
She is survived by her four sons; Michael and his wife Patricia of Northford, John and his wife Katherine of Milford, James of Jacksonville, Fl. and Bill and his wife Wendy of Brookfield as well as her grandchildren; John, Michael, Emily and Julie. Her sister Marie Waller of Milford and her brother Cleve and his wife Jan of Fairlawn, N.J.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Dana Doran who enabled Tootie to remain semi-independent with dignity for the last twenty months of her life. Thanks are also extended to the staff of the ICU and Memorial III West at Milford Hospital including their Hospitalists Staff for their compassionate efforts.
Her family meant everything to her and she was always there for them. Tootie always said that as a little girl she was visited by an angel while being sick. From now on her angel will be there for her.
Calling hours will be Tuesday January 29, 2013, from 4 to 8 pm at the Smith & Sefcik Funeral Home, 135 N. Broad St. in Milford. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Ann’s Church, 491 Naugatuck Ave. in Devon, Wednesday 10:00 am. Interment to follow in St. John’s Cemetery in Stratford.
Donations may be made in her name to: the American Red Cross, Milford Chapter, 1 Plymouth Place, Milford, CT 06460.
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