Floyd John Sichi passed away peacefully on March 5, 2023, at the age of 87, at his residence in Converse, Texas.
Floyd was born on April 13, 1935, in the steel mill town of Monessen, PA, to Floyd C. Sichi and Rose E. Sichi (Carcelli), both children of Italian immigrants. During the Great Depression, his family moved with Floyd and his older brother Gordon out to Hollywood, California; where they were soon joined by most of the extended Italian family, including his Uncle Jerry and Aunt Irene Sichi (his parents’ siblings) and their daughters, Jeanne and Dolores, his “almost-sisters, double cousins.” The family lived not far from Hollywood and Vine, where Floyd attended St Ambrose School with various child stars, and he even had his own screen talent tryouts. He grew up riding the Red Cars, going to movies every Friday and Saturday morning, cheering at Hollywood Stars baseball games, eating a lot of pasta, and going to huge family picnics. He won a classical scholarship to Loyola High School of Los Angeles, and received a full scholarship from the Lockheed Corporation to attend Santa Clara University, where he received a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1957. He received a further company scholarship to earn an MS in Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1958, after which he began his Space Age career as a rocket guidance engineer at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, CA.
It was in the Bay Area that he would meet the love of his life, UC Berkeley grad student Evelyn Dessery, to whom he soon proposed. They were married in San Francisco on June 24, 1961. Living on cliffs overlooking the sea in Capitola, their first child, Julie, was born a year later, followed by Steve in 1963. In 1964 Floyd took a job at TRW, the family moving back south to Hermosa Beach, where Joe was born, followed by Gianna in 1965. In that year, NASA’s Apollo Program led the family to Houston, Texas for a few years, after which Floyd took a job at the Aerospace Corporation. The family settled in Redlands, California, where Zia was born in 1969 and John in 1970. A job relocation returned them to Los Angeles, where they lived in Hermosa Beach, El Segundo and Inglewood. It was at this point that Floyd and Evelyn decided on a break from rocket science, setting out on a grand experiment in rural living, moving to the tiny community of Hallettsville, TX. They ended up on a five acre farm with cows, calves, goats, chickens, pigeons and their brood of six children, while Evelyn taught school and Floyd ran the farm.
After a legendary three years on the farm, in 1978 it was on to Washington, DC, where Floyd rejoined the space industry at GeoDynamics and youngest child Ann was born. Missing his beloved Pacific Ocean, he returned to Los Angeles and the Aerospace Corporation the next year. Floyd took an early retirement in 1990 and besides some consulting work never looked back. He and Evelyn moved with his parents and Ann to the Sierras, settling in Mariposa, CA, along with their dog Cricket, enjoying travels around America, Canada and Australia. After the passing of his parents, Floyd and Evelyn returned for a third time to Texas in 2001, living in Corpus Christi and Gonzales, where his beloved Evelyn sadly passed away in 2005. He traveled once more to Australia with John and Ann and granddaughter Lara, and lived with his daughter Zia in San Antonio and later Oregon, returning to Texas for the last time in 2015, where he lived with his dog Cowboy, nearby daughters Julie, Gianna, and Ann.
Dad was many things, chief among them a loving husband, a self-sacrificing father and committed to his Catholic Faith. He was the first catechism teacher for his children, and while he could be firmly serious about things he felt were truly serious, he was downright funny and silly about many other things that the world took seriously. An archetypal member of the Cold War fighting Silent Generation, he was a dedicated and voluminous reader and observer of the world and a tremendous and engaging conversationalist. He loved spending hours in deep one on one conversation on topics ranging from history, to politics, to religion, to classical music and opera, to sports, to old family stories stretching back to the 1800s. Phone calls or meetings with Dad in his later years had no predictable end time. His deep reading of the London Review of Books filled the international mails with personalized clippings and underlined articles. His typical mornings were spent with tea, a book and a loaf of bread (his love for burnt toast was legendary) and his very late evenings would end with whatever sports were on, followed by an old movie.
He was a passionate sports fan from the start, number one to Notre Dame football, followed in later years by allegiance to the San Francisco Giants, the Los Angeles Raiders, Notre Dame Women’s basketball, and the San Antonio Spurs. He was not allowed to listen to sports on the radio while eating as a child due to the stomach aches that ensued, and was ejected by referees from the 1954 NCAA basketball championships for berating their bad calls. He never forgot attending the 1984, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. He also loved the beach and the mountains; hikes, camping, and weeklong backpacking trips in the Sierras were highlights for many of us. Through him we learned to body surf the Pacific and grew to know the hiking and biking trails of Sequoia, Yosemite and Lake Tahoe by heart.
From his mother and from his time on the farm as a “househusband”, he became a tremendous cook, making amazing spaghetti sauce, pasta from scratch, lasagne, ravioli, pizza, Dagwood sandwiches, tacos, biscotti and zabaglione. His waffles remained a Sunday morning tradition for years, where our friends were always welcome. He was an irrepressible prankster for his whole life, beginning with sneaking into baseball box seats as a kid, putting a live frog into his niece’s ice cream, being part of a secret trophy stealing club in college, lighting firecrackers on the roof outside our bedroom windows, celebrating hot days with surprise Pie and Ice Cream Only Dinners, allowing us to use a dead stingray as a hood ornament, and leading us in the yearly Abracadabra Day family practical joke challenge.
Floyd is survived by daughter Julie of Converse, TX, son Steve (spouse Betsy) of Los Angeles, CA, son Joe (spouse Ai) of Osaka, Japan, daughter Gianna of San Antonio, TX, daughter Zia of Corvallis, OR, son John of San Francisco, CA, and daughter Ann of Universal City, TX. He leaves sixteen grandchildren: Jim (spouse Kristen), Joe, Jessie, John, Jenna, Sunny, Jack, Leo, Seira, Lucia, Emilee (spouse Josh), Natalia, Audrey, Lara, Pascal, and Mia, and recently welcomed his first great-grandchild, Luke. He is also survived by his sisters-in-law Diana Hensley and Julia Thomas, four cousins and scores of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and nephews and beyond.
He was preceded in death by his wife Evelyn Sichi, his parents, Floyd C. and Rose Sichi, his brother and sister-in-law Gordon and Jackie Sichi, and his double-cousins Jeanne Pirrone and Dolores Castello.
Visitation and Rosary will be held on Dad’s birthday, Thursday evening from 5-8, rosary at 6:30, (immediate family may arrive at 4)on April 13, 2023, at Schertz Funeral Home, 2217 Roy Richard Drive, Schertz, TX 78154.
Funeral Mass for Floyd J. Sichi will be held on Friday, April 14th at 1:30 PM, St Monica’s Catholic Church, 501 North Street, Converse, TX 78109. The Graveside Service and Interment will follow immediately at 3 PM at Holy Cross Cemetery, 17501 Nacogdoches Road, San Antonio, TX 78266.
A reception and dinner will follow at 5 PM at Papa Dante’s Restaurant, 8607 FM 1976, Converse, TX 78109.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to:
St. Joseph's Indian School
1301 North Main Street
Chamberlain, SD 57325
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network USA-Canada
Apostleship of Prayer
1501 S. Layton Blvd
Milwaukee, WI 53215-1924
Tremendous thanks to all for their prayers, condolences, memories and care for Dad. Special thanks to Zia and her family for all the years spent with him after Mom’s passing, Ann for the time spent with him, and most especially for all the love and care from Julie, who has helped Dad so much in his final years, getting him through the pandemic, dealing with doctors and health issues, and cheering him up through several not quite great Notre Dame football seasons.
Shake down the thunder, Dad. When you were a kid, you thought heaven was the place where you got to eat spaghetti every day. May it be so. Pace e bene.