Lois Mary Cech, 1931-2013, died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of March 18, 2013, just days before her 82nd birthday. The daughter of Katherine T. Hill and Edward G. Hill, Lois is survived by her brother Edward G. Hill, Jr. of San Bernardino; her five children, Barrington A.S. Daltrey (Linda), of Riverside, James R. Cech (Abigail) of San Bernardino, William A. Cech (Laura) of Benicia, Katherine M. Cech Latonio (Robert) of Riverside and Elizabeth A. Cech Haynes (Ian) of Windsor, Ontario; and 7 Grandchildren, Ashley E.E. Daltrey, Marilyn E. and Anthony E. Cech, Zachary J. Wood and Crystal M. Latonio, and Ian G. and Robert E. Haynes.
Lois was born in Evanston, Illinois and raised in Park Ridge, just outside of Chicago. In 1946, Lois moved to Bloomington, California with her family. She attended Colton High School, graduating in 1949. Following high school, Lois returned to the Chicago area to attend nursing school at St. Luke's Hospital. While there she met her future husband, Eugene J. Cech. Lois and Eugene were married in 1951 and returned to Bloomington to live near her family while Eugene served a tour of duty in Korea in the US Marines. Lois settled happily into her role as a young wife and mother, beginning her family with the birth of three sons while living in Bloomington and later Rialto, California. In 1957, after Gene completed his bachelor's degree, the young family moved to Washington while Gene attended graduate school. Lois's fourth child, daughter Katherine, was born while the family lived in Seattle. In 1959, the family moved to Puyallup, Washington where her fifth child, daughter Elizabeth was born. In 1962 after yet another move, Lois began attending classes at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington where she began to develop her creative writing voice. After the family relocated to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1963, she continued to take classes at Wisconsin State University in Oshkosh where she began to learn French and continued with creative writing and literature courses.
Following a divorce in 1970, Lois returned to school full time at the University of California, Riverside while also working full time to support her family as a single mother. She completed her undergraduate degree in 1972, majoring in English, and then embarked on a graduate program in comparative literature. She completed her master's degree in 1980 and her PhD in 1983. Lois held many interesting positions during this time. She worked as a health assistant at the UCR student health center, became quite proficient writing real estate appraisals while working for her brother, taught Basic Writing at UC Riverside and served as California state humanist in residence for the LA Unified School District from 1980-1982.
After receiving her PhD, Lois spent 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer, developing an English as a Second Language curriculum for the Ministry of Education in Bujumbura, Burundi. Following her return from Africa, Lois married fellow Peace Corps volunteer Marshall Olds and taught English part-time at Riverside City College. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach literature at the University of Burundi and returned to Africa in 1988. At the completion of her Fulbright Fellowship, Lois returned to Rialto, California where she cared for her elderly mother until her death and joined the Catholic Church, became active in family genealogy, took on a leadership role with Habitat for Humanity and continued writing poetry--her lifelong passion. In 1998, Lois moved to Benicia where she lived with her son Bill and his family until 2004. In Benicia, Lois became active in the Catholic Church serving as a Eucharistic minister and teaching catechism, joined AAUW, a local poetry group, Habitat for Humanity and the Genealogical Society. Lois was very proud of her genealogical research which brought concrete historical evidence to family lore. She successfully traced one branch of her family back to the Mayflower.
Returning to Southern California in 2004, Lois continued with her genealogical research, was active in a poetry group and became active in the Catholic Daughters Our Lady of Peace Court and various other positions with Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral. Lois became regent of the Catholic Daughters court in July of 2012. Lois will be remembered for her intelligence, wit, faith and strong personality, and she will be greatly missed by all who have loved her.
Services will be held on Tuesday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of the Rosary Cathedral, 2525 N Arrowhead Ave., San Bernardino. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be sent to the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of California at https://advancementservices.ucr.edu/GivingForm.aspx
or Dept. of Comparative Literature c/o UCR Foundation, P.O. Box 112, Riverside, CA 92502-9879.