Obituaries – 01-31-2018

Jean McLean (Perry) Aldrich

Jean McLean (Perry) Aldrich, 84, of Bradenton and formerly of Anna Maria, died Jan. 18. She was born July 4, 1933, in Palmetto, and was a descendant of pioneering families who settled there in the late 1870s and early 1880s.

Both the McLean and Jones families were involved in farming, citrus growing and shipping.

A graduate of Manatee County High School, she was employed at the Bank of Palmetto in the bookkeeping department, married William L. Aldrich and then started a family.

She was active at Orange Ridge Elementary School and served in a number of capacities.

When her children were older, she assisted her husband in the family’s floor covering business.

After living in Bradenton for a number of years, the family moved to Anna Maria, where Mrs. Aldrich was an active member of Roser Memorial Community Church. She sang in the choir, served as chairman of the music committee and vice president of the women’s guild.

When the children were grown, she and her husband returned to Bradenton to live, and joined Westminster Presbyterian Church.

The couple enjoyed trips to Europe and each of their children had the opportunity to experience some of their journeys.

Mrs. Aldrich and her husband also enjoyed several trips to Mexico and Guatemala, as well as several Caribbean cruises. And they were happy to have had a chance to visit Hawaii. They also visited hostels.

Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory 26th Street Chapel is in charge of arrangements. Memorial contributions may be made to the Palmetto Historical Commission, 515 10th Ave. W., Palmetto FL 34221. Condolences may be made to brownandsonsfuneral.com.

She is survived by sons Mason “Mac” McLean and wife Judy and Mark Timothy and wife Michelle; daughter Jeanne C. and husband Jimmy Paulsen; grandchildren O.J. and wife Rachael, Amber and husband Stephen Riley, Rachelle and wife Erica Studer-Byrnes and Shelley and husband Justin DeZiel; and great-grandchildren, Anna Jude, Andi McLean, Maverick, Niko James Studer-Byrnes and Amiya Kate Riley.

 

Irene Donohue

Irene Donohue, 91, of Holmes Beach, and formerly of New York City, died Jan 23.

She was born Feb. 23, 1926.

A private memorial will be held. The Good Earth Crematory in Bradenton is in charge of arrangements.

 

Ralph Lazzara

Ralph Lazzara of Anna Maria died Jan. 16.

He was born Aug. 14, 1934, in Tampa, to Bennie and Lily, first generation offspring of immigrants from the small mountain village of Santo Stefano, Sicily. They raised him in joyous and loving home.

Always a deep and original thinker, he graduated from Hillsborough High School in 1952. In a chance meeting 40 years later, his chemistry teacher recalled him fondly as the smartest student she ever taught, a view echoed repeatedly over the years by those who taught and studied with him.

He was a standout two-way end on Hillsborough’s football team. As a sophomore in the “Turkey Bowl” Classic against Plant — a tradition dating to the 1920s — he electrified the crowd by intercepting a lateral and running 65 yards for a TD.

His skills drew visits from Gator recruiters, however, upon graduation, he enrolled at the University of Chicago, charting a path as the first in the Lazzara clan to attend college. He worked hard but kept his taste for adventure. He once, just for the thrill, hitchhiked home from Chicago in a blizzard for Christmas.

In 1959, he married high school classmate Barbara Jolly. They were married 58 years before she died in July 2017. They traveled the world together. They once got separated while crossing the Straits of Messina — Barbara embarked on the train-ferry for Sicily and Ralph waving from the dock, luggage in hand.

He loved the beach and the Gulf of Mexico, spending his boyhood summers watching sunsets on Pass-a-Grille and hitting baseballs into the Australian pines that lined Stingray Stadium.

In adulthood, he loved blue crabbing at night along the shores of Manasota Key and later at his home overlooking Tampa Bay, next to the Rod & Reel Pier in Anna Maria. He loved the mountains and was an avid and accomplished skier. He was a boastful and worthy tennis opponent. He loved to make salads and grill steaks, using his secret olive oil, basil and garlic sauce. He loved art and the great art museums of the world, the gelato shops of Italy, college football, Marlon Brando movies, traditional dishes from his Ybor City upbringing and exotic foods from all over the globe.

He loved wine and a well-made cocktail. He loved to read, often becoming so engrossed that it was hard to get back his attention.

Most of all he loved celebrations, holidays and just good times with his family and the multitude of friends he collected throughout life. He possessed an infectious and self-deprecating sense of humor that he often infused with his sharp intellect and comical expressions to make light of life’s vexations and troubles.

Fittingly, he became an expert in the human heart.

He began his medical studies at Tulane University School of Medicine, forming a lifelong love affair with New Orleans, following a professional path that would lead him to become iconic in the scientific and academic worlds of cardiac electrophysiology.

He left New Orleans for New York, where he refined his focus. He served as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, treating patients at the Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver.

Returning Florida, he became professor of medicine at the University of Miami, where he lived in a home surrounded by citrus and mango trees. He spent a yearlong sabbatical in Milan, Italy, continuing his research and providing his family with a year in the country of his heritage.

For most of his adult life, home was Oklahoma City. There his career reached its pinnacle. For nearly four decades, beginning in 1978, he was professor of medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. He was chief of cardiology until 1998, when he co-founded and became medical director of the Oklahoma University College of Medicine’s Heart Rhythm Institute.

He served for several years as president of the Washington, D.C.-based Heart Rhythm Society. He was showered with awards.

A celebration of life will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Shannon Funeral Home, 5610 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton. Memorial donations may be made to the Lazzara Lectureship Award at the Heart Rhythm Society at my.hrsonline.org. Online condolences may be made at shannonfuneralhomes.com.

He is survived by daughters Melissa and Rosalie; grandson Capt. Jerry Mayer; and granddaughters Melissa and Samantha D’Innella.

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