ILWACO - A lifelong resident of the Long Beach Peninsula, Mary Leback died Sept. 17, 2002, in Astoria. She was born to Domenico and Rose Deccio on Jan. 18, 1923, in Seaview, where she spent her childhood years on the family vegetable farm.
As a young woman, she worked at what is now the Lamplighter Restaurant in Seaview, Maud's Cafe in Ilwaco, and as an usherette at the old Sunset Theater in downtown Long Beach. She graduated from Ilwaco High School in 1941, and she remained close to her classmates throughout her life, hosting a reunion picnic at her home for over twenty years.
She married commercial fisherman Elmer "Emmett" Leback in 1943, and the couple made their home in Ilwaco. After the birth of the first of their three children, the Lebacks bought the white house on the corner of Spruce and Williams Streets, where she lived for the rest of her life. She was employed by Tetz Oil Company and later by Telephone Utilities as keypunch supervisor, where she worked for 22 years, including ten years after the company's move to Vancouver.
Following her retirement, Mrs. Leback became an avid traveler, making a journey to Europe where she met her Italian relatives. She enjoyed jazz music and dancing, entertaining at her home, tending her yard and gardens, reading biographies of historical figures, and joining her friends for morning coffee at Ilwaco cafes. She was especially supportive of her four grandchildren and their activities, as evidenced by her regular attendance at school sports and music events.
An active community member, she attended St. Mary's Parish in Seaview throughout her life. She volunteered for the Ilwaco Heritage Museum, the Ragtime Rhodie Jazz Festival, the Ilwaco Sports Boosters, and for PACE Nutrition as membership chairperson. Her flair for baking was appreciated by the Ilwaco firemen and by many elderly people of the Peninsula, for whom she showed special compassion.
Always fond of social gatherings, she treasured her visits with old friends and the new acquaintances she continually made. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and all those who encountered her kind smile and warm sense of humor.
Preceded in death by her husband, Mrs. Leback is survived by her sons, David Leback of San Francisco, Calif., and Paul Leback and daughter-in-law Diana of Ilwaco; daughter Kristine Lashley and son-in-law Darrell of Seaview; sisters Virginia Couch of Chinook and Angie Bradley and brother-in-law Jack of Ocean Park; grandchildren Emmett and Amy Leback and Kara and Erik Lashley; and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral mass was held Sept. 23 at St. Mary's Church in Seaview. Contributions in her memory may be made to the Ilwaco Fire Department or to PACE Nutrition, c/o Pentilla's Chapel by the Sea, P.O. Box 417, Long Beach, WA, 98631.