Stephanie Smith

Obituary of Stephanie Smith

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Stephanie (Hladio) Smith, 97, of Cape Coral passed away peacefully on May 15, 2024. She was born in Jersey City, New Jersey to Anna (Staszko) & John Hladio on November 28, 1926. She had four sisters and one brother.  She was the last of her family to survive but her legacy lives on in all of us.

Stephanie attended PS#1 where she graduated as Salutatorian and then with honors as Valedictorian from Ferris High School. She was a cheerleader, member of the National Honor Society and Student Council. She loved sports and dancing.  She received a scholarship to attend secretarial school but opted to attend Jersey City Junior College instead. After studies, she accepted a position at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company in New York City. While working in the city, she would take horseback riding lessons in Central Park. She also loved visiting Asbury Park on weekends with her family, as her father worked for the Central Railroad and they would take the train to the Jersey Shore.

At age 19, a friend of her sister Olga, submitted a picture of her in response to a contest held for servicemen overseas in Guam during WWII. The contest was to select a woman that the men would most want to ride in a bulldozer (the workhorse of the Seabees) with upon returning home from duty. Of the over 400 entrant’s, Mom was crowned “Queen of the Seabees”. A parade was held in her honor where she rode in a bulldozer accompanied by the servicemen and a 60-piece band through Journal Square. She was publicly honored at the Loews Theatre and received many gifts including a fur coat. A photo of her entire family appeared in the local newspaper known as the Jersey Journal.

At age 24 Stephanie flew alone to Fairbanks, Alaska to marry Bill.  A friend of Bill’s introduced them at a dance, telling him what a great dancer she was. Matt declared “If you don’t marry her Bill, I will.” They wed on July 22, 1951 while he was serving in the Air Force. They arrived at the church only to find it was being taken down, so they had to find another church.

While stationed in Alaska their first child, Billy was born. The day Billy was determined to enter this world, Dad was to pitch in an Air Force baseball game, so they loaded Stephanie up on the team bus, drove to the hospital, where they dropped her off and continued to the game. I don’t recall who won the game.

When transferred to New York, while driving to her OB-GYN appt. they were struck by another car. Upon reaching the appt. the Dr. decided Janet would be born that day, broken leg and all. Next, Bill transferred to Chicopee, Mass. Where Debra was born. After serving four years, Stephanie and Bill returned to settle in Jersey City, NJ.

Then we all know what happened in the next several years…..

Before you knew it there were six kids, Kenny, Patty and Steffie added to the clan. Then, eight kids, Richie and Glenn were born!

Wow, were those two busy… and finally 10 kids with Dave and Chris to end this baby boom journey.

Hence, Stephanie became a great cook.  She baked all of the birthday cakes every year for as long as we can remember. She was also an avid BINGO player, reader, and card player. She loved to play scrabble, listen to music, and going to the mall to watch a movie. We can remember many a holiday, where Stephanie would be at the kitchen table with her siblings playing cards, drinking a hi-ball. Saturday nights were for going out for dinner and dancing with friends.

Stephanie traveled a lot with her children, visiting Aruba, St Maarten, Disney World, as well as cruising the Caribbean. She traveled to visited her sister Jean and niece Cheryl in Montana with a few of her siblings. Atlantic City bus trips were also a favorite of hers where she would play blackjack. She and Bill took a trip to Las Vegas for their 25th wedding anniversary.

After raising her children, she returned to work. This time part-time as a waitress at Amato’s Seafood Restaurant on Bergen Ave., Jersey City.

After Bill passed away, Stephanie relocated to Cape Coral, Florida with her daughters.

Stephanie is preceded in passing by her parents, husband William, sons William, Kenneth and Ken’s wife Karin, siblings Catherine, Anne, Jean, Stephen and Olga. She deeply loved her family. She was blessed and leaves her loving memory with her survivors: children Janet (Carmen) Luciano, Debra (Brian) Raymond, Patricia (Al) Gasparic, Stephanie, Richard, Glenn (Patricia), David, Christopher (Dawn) Smith, and daughter-in-law Anita, grandchildren Ryan (Ania) and Michael (Marisa) Luciano, Michael, Alison, Jeffrey (Francesca), Gregory (Blair), Steven (Ashley), Shane, Nicholas, Deanna and Giana Smith, great-grandchildren Connor, Alexa, Ariana, Kyle and Kenneth Smith.

In her later years Stephanie suffered from dementia and although she didn’t remember our names (who can blame her, too many to count) she would get teary eyed when she was surrounded by her children or when she relived her life through pictures. Until the very end she lived a full life with a kindness and sweetness that GOD gave her.



Stephanie’s family has entrusted Fort Myers Memorial Garden with the care of her final arrangements.

A Memorial Gathering for relatives and friends will be held on Sunday, June 16, 2024 from 10am – 1pm in the McCriskin – Gustafson Home for Funerals 2425 Plainfield Ave. South Plainfield, NJ 07080.





Memorial Service

10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Sunday, June 16, 2024
McCriskin – Gustafson Home For Funerals
2425 Plainfield Avenue
South Plainfield, New Jersey, United States
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Stephanie Smith

In Loving Memory

Stephanie Smith

1926 - 2024

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